Region’s housing starts jump sharply in May, up significantly from last year

housing starts

Ottawa-Gatineau’s annual pace of housing starts increased sharply by 225 per cent in May compared to April, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says. 

The national housing agency says the region’s monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts in May was 18,057, up from 5,549 the previous month. 

The annual pace of multi-unit urban starts also went up, climbing 335 per cent to 16,128, compared to 3,708 in April. Single-unit starts saw a much more modest rise of only five per cent, to 1,929 from 1,841 the month before. 

OBJ360 (Sponsored)

It’s a significant increase in starts compared to this time last year. Builders started work on 1,538 new housing units in Ottawa-Gatineau last month, a 259 per cent increase from the 429 starts recorded in May 2023. 

Single-detached starts rose 20 per cent to 194 compared with the previous year, while multi-unit starts grew significantly by 401 per cent to 1,344. 

National housing starts up 10% in May from April 

Nationally, CMHC says the annual pace of housing starts in May climbed 10 per cent compared with April, helped by gains in Montreal and Toronto.

The housing agency said Monday the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts in May amounted to 264,506 units, up from 241,111 in April.

BMO senior economist Robert Kavcic said it was a solid level of output given tougher market conditions.

“As it stands now, the number of units under construction is trending near record highs in absolute terms, and matching the 1970s building boom relative to the size of the adult population,” Kavcic wrote in a report.  

The cost of housing has been a key political issue with the federal government working to improve affordability. Ottawa has announced new tax incentives and spending in an attempt to solve the current housing crisis.

The reading for housing starts in May came as the annual pace of starts in Montreal more than doubled with an increase of 104 per cent, and Toronto gained 47 per cent, both boosted by multi-unit starts. 

The pace of starts in Vancouver for May fell 32 per cent compared with April.

CMHC said the overall annual pace of urban housing starts was 246,111 units in Canada, up 11 per cent from 221,376 in April. The annual pace of multi-unit urban starts increased 13 per cent to 203,141, while single-detached urban starts rose two per cent to 42,970.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of rural starts was estimated at 18,395.

The six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate was up 3.8 per cent at 247,830 units in May compared with 238,859 units in April.

With files from The Canadian Press

Get our email newsletters

Get up-to-date news about the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Ottawa and beyond.

By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.