Ottawa housing starts down in July, says CMHC

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Housing starts in Ottawa were down in July compared with the previous month, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Housing starts, based on a six-month moving average of monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates, were trending at 4,475 units in July compared with 4,533 units in June.

“The continued downward trend in apartment starts more than offset the upward trend in low-rise dwelling starts, putting slight downward pressure on total housing starts activity in July,” Anne-Marie Shaker, CMHC's senior market analyst for Ottawa, said in a release. “While the inventory of completed and unsold condominium units has come off from previous peaks, builders remain cautious at this time. About 40 per cent of the apartments started this month were rentals.”

Housing starts saw a smaller decline compared with a year earlier. In July 2015, starts were trending at 4,491.

The monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate for Ottawa was 4,477 in July, down from 5,637 in June. It was also down from 4,562 during July 2015.

CMHC credited that to a “decline in single-detached and row starts” which came after several months of increases in both categories.

While housing starts were trending down in Ottawa, they were up trending up in much of the country despite a decline in the standalone seasonally adjusted rate for the month.

Across Canada, starts were trending at 201,936 units in July compared with 197,847 in June.

“July’s housing starts continued to pick up pace, as construction strengthened in B.C. and Ontario’s multi-unit segments,” Aled ab Iorwerth, CMHC’s deputy chief economist, said in a release. “This reflects continued strong demand for lower-priced homes and low inventories of completed and unsold new units.”

However, the standalone monthly SAAR for Canada was down to 198,395 units in July from 218,326 units in June.

That was driven by declines in Quebec, British Columbia, Ontario and Atlantic Canada.