Regional housing starts up year-over-year in August, but annual pace declines, CMHC says

Housing starts

After a torrid July that saw a record number of housing starts in Ottawa-Gatineau, the pace of construction dropped off in August, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says.

Builders started work on 1,374 new housing units last month, CMHC said Friday. While that’s up 44 per cent from the previous August, it was well off the all-time monthly high of 2,130 starts set in July 2022.

Starts of single-detached homes were virtually unchanged from a year earlier at 290, up from 287 in August 2021. But the summer surge in construction of apartments, condos and other multi-unit dwellings continued last month as builders started work on 1,056 new units – a 63 per cent increase over the previous year.

While all but eight of the multi-unit starts were on the Ottawa side of the river, developers were busy with starts of single-detached homes on the Quebec side. There were 81 starts of single-detached homes in Gatineau in August, a jump of 153 per cent year-over-year.

Meanwhile, the region’s annual pace of housing starts – a rolling average designed to smooth out monthly fluctuations – fell in August compared with July, mirroring a national trend.

CMHC said the seasonally adjusted annual rate of new builds in Ottawa-Gatineau last month was 15,897 units, down 36 per cent from 24,912 in July.

National pace of starts drops

Nationally, the agency says the annual pace of housing starts also slowed in August compared with July.

CMHC says the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts in August was 267,443 units, down three per cent from 275,158 in July.

The decrease came as the annual pace of urban starts fell three per cent to 246,771 in August, with the rate of multi-unit urban starts down four per cent at 187,602.

Urban starts of single-detached homes rose one per cent to 59,169 units.

Meanwhile, rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 20,672 units.

The six-month moving average of the overall monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate was 267,309 units in August, up from 264,467 units in July.

– With additional reporting from the Canadian Press