Housing starts down 57% in January: CMHC

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A plunge in multiple-unit dwelling construction activity contributed to a significant decrease in the number of housing starts in the capital last month, according to the latest numbers from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.There were 221 starts in January, when freezing cold temperatures and large amounts of snow covered the city. That’s a drop from the 512 recorded during the same month a year earlier.

Pushing the numbers down was a significant decrease in the construction of apartment units, which fell to 25 from 306 a year earlier. Rows and semi-detached units dropped to 112 from 448.

“Apartment construction is expected to wind down from previous years` highs as inventories are absorbed by the market,” said Sandra Perez Torres, senior market analyst for the region, in a statement.

Single-unit construction increased, jumping to 90 in January from 50 a year earlier.

The six-month moving average of monthly seasonally-adjusted annual rates, CMHC’s preferred tool for examining the local market, also sharply decreased. There were 6,039 starts trending under that metric in January, down from 7,341 in December.

Nationally, the CMHC says the pace of housing starts slowed in January compared with the previous month.

The agency estimates there were 11,737 actual starts in January and that is extrapolated out to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 180,248, down from 187,144 in December.

Urban starts decreased by 2.7 per cent in January to 163,158 units on an adjusted annual basis.

Multiple urban starts were down 6.0 per cent to 102,289 units on the same basis.

Single-detached urban starts segment increased by 3.4 per cent to 60,869 units on the same seasonally adjusted basis.

Urban starts in January increased in the Prairies and in Ontario and fell in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and British Columbia.

–With files from The Canadian Press.