UPDATE 1-Canada June housing starts unexpectedly jump on Ontario strength

Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:51am EDT
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OTTAWA, July 11 (Reuters) - Canadian housing starts rose much more than expected in June from May on booming apartment construction in Ontario as well as a strong performance from British Columbia, data from the national housing agency showed on Monday.

The report from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp showed the seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts rose to 218,333 in June from a revised 186,709 in May. Economists had forecast 190,000 starts in June.

Senior officials in the Liberal government have recently expressed concern about high prices in Toronto and the British Columbia city of Vancouver, Canada's hottest markets, and say they will study whether further tightening of mortgage rules is needed.

"June saw housing starts pick up pace in Canada, bolstered by apartment construction in Ontario, especially new condo construction in Toronto's downtown core," said CMHC Chief Economist Bob Dugan.

The CMHC data showed an increase in urban starts in British Columbia and a slight drop in Quebec.

Dugan said housing starts were trending downward in the energy-producing province of Alberta, which has been hit hard by a slump in the price of crude oil. (Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)