Chris Lau - Seeking Alpha

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Canadian Housing - No Bust Just Yet

After declining 5.3% in June, the value of building permits increased 1.8% to $6.4 billion in July, mainly as a result of multi-family dwelling permits in Central Canada and industrial construction intentions in Saskatchewan.

In the residential sector, the value of building permits rose 2.7% to $3.7 billion, mainly as a result of an increase in the value of multi-family dwelling permits in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba.

In the non-residential sector, the value of building permits edged up 0.6% to $2.7 billion. An increase in industrial construction intentions more than offset declines in both commercial and institutional permits.

Residential: Increase in multi-family dwelling permits

After two consecutive monthly declines, municipalities issued $1.5 billion worth of permits for multi-family housing in July, up 9.6% from June.

At the same time, single-family permits declined 1.4% to $2.2 billion. Ontario accounted for more than half of the decline, while Quebec posted a second consecutive monthly increase in single-family housing.

Municipalities approved 19,518 new residential dwellings in July, up 12.0%. This was due to a 24.4% increase in multi-family units. The number of single-family units approved declined 1.4% to 8,257.



The figures are skewed by building starts for condominiums in July. Real estate activity continued to increased but so did supply. Investors must continue to monitor the health of the commodities market (currently declining), unemployment levels, and the health of U.S. banks and U.S. real estate market.

How Real Estate Stocks Are Performing

Some of the Canadian real-estates stocks that have stabilized include Brookfield Properties, Riocan, and Rona. Although technical signals for these stocks are positive, there are risks in their fundamentals.

Brookfield properties has the potential to rally to $28. Careful, as it has heavy exposure to New York's commercial property market:


Rona's Rally quite a surprise: