Housing construction pace slows in December as Gatineau records just one start: CMHC

The annual pace of housing starts in the National Capital Region continued to nosedive last month, falling 72 per cent compared with November as construction projects in Gatineau virtually ground to a halt.

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. said Tuesday Ottawa-Gatineau’s seasonally adjusted rate of housing starts was 4,047 in December, down from 14,657 the month before.

Much of that drop was a result of a sharp decline in construction on the Gatineau side of the river. The number of housing starts in Gatineau plummeted from 716 in November to just a single start in December, down from 28 a year earlier.  

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Gatineau’s seasonally adjusted rate of housing starts – a six-month rolling average designed to smooth out monthly fluctuations – dropped to 13 in December from 8,573 in November.

Housing starts in Ottawa, meanwhile, fell 13 per cent year-over-year in December to 317. While multi-unit starts on projects like condos and apartments rose 26 per cent to 201, single-detached starts declined 44 per cent to 115. 

The city’s seasonally adjusted rate of starts fell 34 per cent in December to 4,034.

Concerns about a lack of new housing supply in Ottawa have prompted calls for developers to pick up the pace of construction.

Newly elected mayor Mark Sutcliffe has pledged to cut red tape and make it easier to build new homes as well as offer incentives for builders to construct more affordable housing as part of a push to see 100,000 new units built in the city over the next decade.

Housing starts continued to decline across the country last month. CMHC says the annual pace of housing starts in December slowed five per cent compared with November.

The national housing agency says the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts in December was 248,625 units compared with 263,022 in November.

The drop came as the annual pace of urban starts fell five per cent to 227,708.

The rate of multi-unit urban starts dropped four per cent to 182,850, while the pace of single-detached urban starts fell 11 per cent to 44,858.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 20,917 units for December.

The six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts was 269,930 in December, down one per cent from 273,801 in November.

– With additional reporting from the Canadian Press

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