Ottawa housing starts rally in July

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The number of housing starts ballooned last month, thanks largely to a huge jump in construction of multi-unit buildings.

There were 938 starts last month, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. That’s up from 287 in July 2012.Multiples – which include apartments, rows and semi-detached units – accounted for 750 of the new starts, an increase of 287 during the same month last year.

Single-detached homes also increased to 188 from 128 during July 2012.

“Townhome construction activity posted very healthy growth, particularly in Ottawa’s outskirts,” said Sandra Perez Torres, CMHC’s senior market analyst for the region, in a statement.

“Rows are becoming increasingly popular as they provide a more affordable alternative to single-detached housing and more space than condominium units.”

The July numbers are an early sign the region may be getting ready to turn around a slow start to the year. The number of starts for the first seven months of the year are still down to 3,697 from 4,085 from January to July of last year.

Ms. Perez Torres said the market “rallied” in July following a “robust” June.

Seasonally adjusted six-month moving averages, CMHC’s main metric for measuring housing construction in the region, increased to 6,482 units in July from 5,690 in June.