Ottawa housing starts trending up 6.3 per cent in June: CMHC

Semi-detached dwelling construction helped overall housing starts in Ottawa trend at 5,243 in June, up 311 from May, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

"In June, starts activity trended lower for all dwelling types with the exception of semis,” CMHC’s senior market analyst Sandra Perez Torres said in a statement. ”Although average income in Ottawa has been improving, continued uncertainty with regard to employment has dampened housing market activity in the capital."

The trend, a six-month moving average of monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates, has hovered around 5,000 for 2014.

Apartment construction in the downtown core helped that area regain the highest share of starts. More row construction led to higher starts in Nepean than Kanata.

Nationally, housing starts trended up one per cent, but at 198,195, the June numbers defied expectations of many economists, who had predicted a number in the 190,000 range.

A jump in rural starts and a slight increase in urban starts contributed to the higher number.

CIBC economist Nick Exarhos said the increase goes against the conventional reasoning that this year would bring an expected slowdown to the market.

``Today's report also gives us more confidence that the weakness seen in April GDP due to a drop in construction was indeed transitory, and that for the second quarter as a whole, the building sector-along with other economic activity,will show signs of heating up,'' Exarhos wrote in a note Wednesday.

CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said the national numbers have been flat since March.

“This is in line with CMHC's analysis indicating that the new home construction market in Canada is headed for a soft landing in 2014," he said in a statement.

-with files from the Canadian Press