Busier Gatineau builders drive up National Capital Region housing starts in April


Housing starts in Ottawa-Gatineau were up 52 per cent in April over the same period last year, driven by a flurry of apartment, condo and townhouse builds on the Quebec side of the river.

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. released its April housing starts data Wednesday, showing developers in Ottawa-Gatineau kicked off almost 900 new builds last month compared with 590 in 2018.

While Ottawa saw work start on 490 homes last month, a decrease of 40 from last year, Gatineau had 408 housing starts in April, up from just 60 a year ago. The bulk of these starts were in the multi-residential category – which includes townhouses, apartments and condo buildings – where work began on 365 new units. Ottawa’s single-unit starts were up 40 per cent in April while multi-unit starts were down 29 per cent.

Nationally, the pace of housing starts in Canada beat expectations in April as they rose more than 20 per cent compared with March. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts increased to 235,460 units in April, up 22.6 per cent from 191,981 in March.

Economists had expected an annual pace of 196,400, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

The overall increase came as the annual pace of urban multiple-unit projects increased 29.6 per cent to 175,732 in April. Single-detached urban starts increased six per cent to 44,655.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 15,073 units.

The six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates was 206,103 in April, up from 202,420 in March.

– With files from Canadian Press