Ottawa-Gatineau housing starts up 7% in April

Home construction

Homebuilders in Ottawa are off to a hot start this spring despite the cooler-than-normal temperatures, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported on Tuesday.

Developers in Ottawa-Gatineau started work on 590 new homes in April, including 187 single-detached units, up seven per cent from the 553 starts in the same month in 2017. The industry was particularly busy on the Ontario side of the river, recording 530 starts – 14 per cent more than the total of 463 a year earlier.

Those numbers suggest the upward trend that began in 2017 is continuing in the early part of this year. Local developers launched 7,457 housing starts last year, an increase of 41 per cent over 2016 and the highest number since at least 2004, according to CMHC records.

In addition to reporting actual housing starts, CMHC also calculates a seasonally adjusted six-month rolling annualized average to show trends in new home construction. Using that measurement, the trend in Ottawa-Gatineau last month was 7,992 annualized housing starts.

Nationally, homebuilders across Canada started work on 15,968 new homes, a decrease of one per cent from 16,197 in April 2017.

The national six-month rolling annualized average was 225,696 units in April, down slightly from 226,942 units in March.

“In April, the national trend in housing starts remained stable at historically elevated levels, with lower starts of single-detached dwellings offsetting higher starts of multi-unit dwellings,” Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist, said in a statement.

“Notably, the national inventory of newly completed and unabsorbed multi-unit dwellings has been stable over the same period, indicating that demand for this type of unit has absorbed increased supply.”