Gatineau building boom continues as National Capital Region housing starts tick up 10% in March

Housing construction

New home construction continues to surge in Gatineau, fuelling a 10 per cent year-over-year jump in housing starts in the National Capital Region last month.

Homebuilders started work on 1,318 new dwellings in Ottawa-Gatineau in March, according to the latest figures from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. That’s up from 1,196 starts in the same month in 2021 – a wave of growth that’s been triggered by a flurry of new construction on the Quebec side of the river.

There were 521 new builds launched in Gatineau last month, up from 182 a year ago as more buyers rush to get in on the Quebec municipality’s lower average housing prices. Meanwhile, new starts in Ottawa were down 21 per cent year-over-year to 797.

Once again, the building boom focused on apartments, condos and other multiple-unit dwellings. Builders launched 1,119 such projects in March, up 30 per cent from a year earlier. Most of that growth occurred in Gatineau, where multi-unit starts jumped nearly 200 per cent compared with March 2021.

Single-detached starts, on the other hand, continued their months-long slide, falling 40 per cent year-over-year to 863.

The region’s annual pace of housing starts – a rolling average designed to smooth out monthly fluctuations – accelerated for the third consecutive month.

CMHC said March’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of new builds in Ottawa-Gatineau was 16,713, up 44 per cent from the previous month.

Nationally, the agency says the annual pace of housing starts ticked lower in March compared with February as urban starts of apartments, condos and other types of multiple-unit housing projects slowed.

CMHC says the seasonally adjusted rate of housing starts came in at 246,243 units, compared with 250,246 in February.

The drop came as the pace of urban starts slowed by two per cent to 220,708 in March.

The annual rate of multi-unit urban starts fell five per cent to 154,876, while the pace of single-detached urban starts rose eight per cent to 65,832.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 25,535 units.

The six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts was 252,497 in March, down from 253,296 in February.

– With additional reporting from the Canadian Press