Ottawa-Gatineau housing starts plummet 50% in August: CMHC

Housing starts

Housing starts in Ottawa-Gatineau fell nearly 50 per cent in August compared with a year earlier, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., the third month in a row that new builds lagged behind 2020’s pace.

Builders in the National Capital Region started work on 935 new housing units last month, down 47 per cent from August 2020. Apartments, condos and other types of multi-unit projects showed the biggest decline, with starts dropping 56 per cent year-over-year.

Overall, housing starts in Ottawa fell by 46 per cent in August to a total of 869, while across the river in Gatineau, new builds were down 58 per cent to 66.

Meanwhile, the region’s annual pace of housing starts – a rolling average designed to smooth out monthly fluctuations – rose significantly last month.

CMHC said the seasonally adjusted annual rate of new builds in Ottawa-Gatineau was 10,571, a 26 per cent jump from July. The pace of new starts increased 42 per cent in Ottawa, while the rolling rate of new builds fell by 50 per cent in Gatineau.

Nationally, the annual pace of housing starts in August slowed compared with July as the rate of new home construction continued to slow from its highs earlier this year.

CMHC says the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 260,239 units in August, down from 270,744 in July.

The pace slowed as the annual rate of urban starts fell 4.7 per cent in August to 235,782.

The annual rate of urban starts for apartments, condos and other types of multiple-unit housing projects dropped 5.7 per cent to 173,120, while the rate of single-detached urban starts fell two per cent to 62,662.

CMHC estimated rural starts at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 24,457.

The six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 283,971 in August, down from 286,076 in July.

– With additional reporting from the Canadian Press