Ottawa-Gatineau housing starts drop sharply in December: CMHC

housing starts

While the National Capital Region finished 2018 trending down on housing starts, data from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. shows a slow end to the year didn’t manage to drag down Ottawa-Gatineau’s annual figures.

CMHC reported Wednesday that builders started work on 558 new residential units in Ottawa-Gatineau last month, compared with 907 starts in December 2017. The figures represent a drop-off from November, when builders laid the foundations on 846 new dwellings.

The Ottawa side of the river saw the steepest decline, with a 53-per-cent drop in new multi-residential properties driving the downturn. A small bump in single-detached housing starts in Gatineau – from 48 to 51 – was the sole year-over-year increase for the region in December.

The region’s builders collectively slowed their pace of construction in the last four months of 2018, with year-over-year drops in each month except for October. Nonetheless Ottawa-Gatineau finished the year with 9,468 total housing starts, up slightly from the 9,327 recorded in 2017.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts in Canada was 213,419 units in December, down from 224,349 in November.

Economists had expected an annual rate of 205,000, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

The annual pace of urban starts dropped by 5.8 per cent to 194,594 units in December as the annual rate of multiple-unit projects such as condominiums, apartments and townhouses fell 6.8 per cent to 144,728 units.

The pace of single-detached urban starts fell by 2.5 per cent to 49,866 units. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 18,825 units.

– With files from Canadian Press