Ottawa housing starts trend down in April

Housing starts continued to trend down in the capital in April, and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said Friday weak employment is to blame.

Housing starts trended at 4,492 in April, down from 4,625 in March. The seasonally adjusted annual rate was 5,624, up 1,600 from March. The CMHC uses the six-month trend to compliment the SAAR number, to help account for considerable swings in the market thereby obtaining a more complete picture of the market.

All April condominium apartment starts happened in the city core, giving it 42 per cent of all activity. Half of all the rowhouse starts happened in Nepean, giving it 23 per cent. So far this year, about half the starts have happened in those two areas.

Across the counrty, the pace of home construction also slowed last month, with much of the decline due to fewer starts of multiple-dwelling projects compared with March.

CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan says the rate of multi-unit starts peaked in September and the downward seasonally adjusted trend experienced in April was in line with expectations.

It reported the annualized equivalent of 181,814 units were started in April – down from 189,546 in March.

That included 107,216 units in urban multi-unit projects, a 14.2 per cent decline from March.

Quebec and the Prairie region showed the biggest declines in multi-unit starts while Ontario was down to a lesser degree and there were increases in the Atlantic region and British Columbia.

The number of urban single-detached starts across the country was up 11.4 per cent to 58,229 units while rural areas of Canada accounted for 16,369 units started in April.

- with files from the Canadian Press