Ottawa housing starts trend down for third straight month: CMHC

A decline in high-rise starts contributed to a third straight month of sliding housing starts in Ottawa, the CMHC said Monday.

"On the supply side, builders are managing apartment inventories by restraining the launch of new projects opting to channel demand to unsold units,” CMHC senior market analyst Anne-Marie Shaker said in statement. “This has resulted in a decline in unsold apartment units in recent months. Improving economic conditions has supported housing demand.”

Housing starts in the capital trended at 4,773 in April, down from 4,953 in March. The trend measure is a six-month moving average of the seasonally adjusted annual rate, and the CMHC uses it to account for the potential of significant swings in the SAAR rate.

The SAAR measure for April was 3,737, up slightly from 3,721 in March as an increase in low-rise starts offset the drop in high-rise starts, the CMHC said.

Housing starts slowed across the country as well, the CMHC added, down to its lowest level in three months.

Most regions of the country saw increases in urban areas on a seasonally adjusted basis but there were declines in Ontario and Quebec.

The CMHC said the SAAR measure for housing starts last month was 191,512 units – down from 202,375 units in March and 212,594 units in February

Ontario's seasonally adjusted rate for urban starts fell to 62,672 starts in April, down from 85,518 in March while Quebec's urban starts fell to 27,423 from 29,696.

The seasonally adjusted rate also fell in rural areas to 19,098 from 16,702.

In terms of types of housing, urban multiple-dwelling starts fell by 4,945 to 177,851 and single-detached housing starts fell by 3,522 to 56,959.

The CMHC's six-month trend in April was 195,064 units – down from 196,103 in March.