Ottawa housing starts trend down in March: CMHC

A sluggish condominium market was a factor as housing starts in the capital trended down in March, the Canada Housing and Mortgage Company said Friday.

"Housing starts trended slightly lower in March across all dwelling types with the exception of rows," senior market analyst Anne-Marie Shaker said in a statement. "Starts have trended lower as the number of completed and unsold units has trended higher for all dwelling types with the most pronounced increase in the condominium segment."

Starts trended down almost 300 to 4,953 In March. The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts, used to account for potentially large swings in monthly numbers.

Ottawa’s SAAR measure was up in March, from 3,166 to 3,716 with single-detached, row and apartment home starts leading the way.

The majority of apartment construction took place in the west end, the CMHC said.

Nationally, the pace of housing starts slowed in March, the CMHC said.

The agency says the seasonally adjusted annual rate was 204,251 units in March, down from 219,077 in February.

Economists had expected an annual pace of 190,000, according to Thomson Reuters.

The six-month moving average of housing starts slipped to an annual rate of 196,783 units in March compared with 201,618 in February.

For March, the pace of urban starts fell 7.0 per cent to 185,022 units as work in British Columbia, Quebec, Atlantic Canada and the Prairies slowed, but picked up in Ontario. Multiple-unit urban starts dropped 9.7 per cent to 123,207, while single-detached starts slipped 1.1 per cent to 61,815.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 19,299.

- with files from the Canadian Press