Ottawa housing starts jump in October

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Year-over-year housing construction ballooned in Ottawa last month as the number of housing starts for the region nearly doubled, according to figures the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. released on Friday.

There were 572 housing starts in October, up from 307 during the same month last year.

Growth occurred across all housing segments.

Single detached starts jumped to 184 from 150 while multiples increased to 388 from 157, thanks largely to greater interest in apartment construction. That segment was up to 201 from 56 a year earlier.

October’s six-month moving average of seasonally adjusted annual rates – CMHC’s preferred metric for measuring housing construction – registered 8,009 starts. That’s up from 7,953 for September.

“Seasonally adjusted housing starts saw a slight moderation in October compared to September driven by a scaling back in apartment construction, while all other housing start types continued to trend higher,” said Sandra Perez Torres, CMHC’s senior market analyst for the region, in a statement.

“As a result, the year-to-date pace of housing activity strengthened over the same period last year.”

Most of the single-detached activity took place in the city’s west end, according to CMHC. Kanata accounted for 26 per cent while Nepean had 23 per cent.

Nationally CMHC said the pace of housing starts heated up again for the month, continuing the momentum that began to build in July.

The agency estimates there were 17,033 actual starts in October, which extrapolated over 12 months gives a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 198,282 units, compared with 195,929 in September.

Urban starts were essentially unchanged at a seasonally adjusted rate of 177,434 units.

Multiple urban starts registered a slight increase of 0.9 per cent to 115,011 units in October while the single urban starts segment saw a decrease of 1.7 per cent to 62,423 units.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased in Ontario, but slipped in British Columbia, Atlantic Canada, the Prairies, and Quebec.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 20,848 units.

The agency says housing starts are in line with its projections.

“The trend in total housing starts has gained momentum since July, which is in line with expectations that new construction would strengthen over the second half of 2013,” said Mathieu Laberge, the corporation's deputy chief economist.

–With files from The Canadian Press.