Chris Lau - Seeking Alpha

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Canadian Housing - Part 3

The news release was taken Directly from CMHC. Since I am work part-time in Toronto real estate, my interests are greatest for Ontario. Note that these figures weaken my previous two arguments about the health of Ontario real estate relative to the other Canadian provinces.

Housing Starts Down in July

OTTAWA, August 11, 2008 — The seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of housing starts was 186,500 units in July, down from 215,900 units in June, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“After a strong first half of the year, the volatile multiple segment is now readjusting itself.” said Brent Weimer, Senior Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “This brings activity since the start of the year closer in line with our 2008 forecast of more than 200,000 housing starts for the seventh consecutive year.”

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts decreased by 14.8 per cent in July compared to June. Both urban multiples and singles moved down, with a drop of 20.2 per cent for multiples to 91,600 units, and a 6.6 per cent decline for singles to 69,800 units.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts went down in Ontario and to a lesser extent in the Prairies, where housing starts decreased by 38.8 per cent to 47,800 and by 1.6 per cent to 30,600 in July, respectively. Urban starts increased slightly by 2.2 per cent to 41,200 units in Quebec, by 2.4 per cent to 8,700 units in Atlantic Canada, and by 5.1 per cent to 33,100 units in British Columbia. While single starts decreased in all regions in July, with the exception of the Atlantic Canada where they remained unchanged, multiple urban starts only registered a decline in Ontario.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 25,100 units in July2.

For the first seven months of 2008, actual starts in rural and urban areas combined were up an estimated 2.3 per cent compared to the same period last year. Year-to-date actual starts in urban areas have increased by an estimated 2.4 per cent over the same period in 2007. Actual urban single starts for the January to July period of this year were 15.5 per cent lower than they were a year earlier, while multiple starts were up by 19.0 per cent over the same period.

Is Correction in Gold a Buying Opportunity?

Gold plunged to an 8 month low this morning, touching $801.90 from $820 the day previously. The sell-off has been fast and furious. Is it time to buy?

Gold prices cannot be assessed in isolation from the US dollar. The US dollar index spiked through moving averages recently.

Gold stocks have corrected more quickly than gold prices. Barrick Gold, for example, is down 33% from a recent peak posted just last month. See below:

US Dollar:

Barrick Gold still has further to fall, as long as the US dollar rally holds. The dollar faces resistance at current levels. I believe that the debt taken on by the US government is too significant. Long-term, I do no expect the US dollar to remain strong. However, the third unknown variable is the price of oil. Should oil prices fall even lower, this will provide some much-needed support for a stronger US dollar.