October housing starts in Ottawa-Gatineau more than double from last year: CMHC

housing starts

Homebuilders in Ottawa-Gatineau went on a construction binge last month, with housing starts nearly doubling over the previous month and increasing 139 per cent from October 2017, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported Thursday.

Builders in the National Capital Region started work on 1,496 homes in October, up dramatically from 626 starts a year ago, the agency said. Construction on the Ottawa side of the river fuelled the boom, with starts jumping from 529 in October 2017 to 1,412 this year. In Gatineau, year-over-year starts declined slightly from 97 last year to 84 this October.

While construction of single-detached units held steady ​– builders started 309 homes in October, compared with 308 a year ago ​– the number of multiple-unit projects on the go such as condos, apartments and townhouses ballooned from 318 to 1,187, a whopping year-over-year rise of 273 per cent.   

There were 792 housing starts in Ottawa-Gatineau in September.

The rise in starts comes as Ottawa continues to deal with a dwindling supply of housing. Earlier this week, the Ottawa Real Estate Board said the city’s active inventory currently is half of where it stood in 2015 and 2016, while the condo supply was down 34.5 per cent from last year in October.

Ottawa’s growth mirrored the picture across the province. Builders in Ontario launched 7,513 new homes in October, up from slightly more than 5,000 a year ago, an increase of 50 per cent. In Quebec, starts dropped nine per cent year-over-year, from about 4,600 to 4,200.

Nationally, CMHC said the annual pace of housing starts in October increased compared with September.The housing agency said the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts last month came in at 205,925 units, up from 189,730 in September.

Economists had expected an annual rate of 200,000, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

The increase came as the annual pace of urban starts climbed by 8.6 per cent in October to 191,964 units. The annual rate of urban multiple-unit projects increased by 16.8 per cent to 145,442. Single-detached urban starts fell 10.7 per cent to 46,522 units.

The six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates was 206,171 in October, down from 207,809 in September.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 13,961 units.

– With additional reporting from the Canadian Press