UPDATE 1-Canadian housing starts pick up in April

Thu May 8, 2014 8:50am EDT
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(Adds details from the report, quotes)

TORONTO May 8 (Reuters) - Canadian housing starts picked up more than expected in April, data showed on Thursday, supporting expectations that the housing market is stabilizing.

A report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp showed the seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts rose to 194,809 last month from 156,592 units in March. That surpassed analysts' expectations for a gain to 175,000.

March's housing starts were revised slightly lower from an originally reported 156,823.

The surge in April could partly be due to a catch-up after unusually severe winter weather weighed on starts earlier in the year, Nick Exarhos, an economist at CIBC World Markets, wrote in a note.

Indeed, data earlier in the week that showed a decrease in building permits in March indicates that there will be a gradual decline in housing starts ahead, Exarhos said.

The six-month moving average for starts was 183,515, suggesting that the new-home construction market is heading for a soft landing this year, Mathieu Laberge, CMHC's deputy chief economist, said.

The volatile multiple urban starts increased to 117,612 units, while single-detached urban starts increased to 59,180 units. (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Bernadette Baum)