Housing starts up 4.5% in June

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Housing starts in Ottawa rebounded in June after a marked decline in May, but were still up only slightly over the same period in 2012 as the market is showing signs of levelling off.

There were 656 housing starts last month, up 4.5 per cent from the 628 recorded in the same period a year earlier, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

The increase came mostly from single-detached dwellings, which jumped from 156 in June 2012 to 198 last month.

“Seasonally adjusted housing starts picked up in June following a slight moderation in May as activity firmed in most segments of the housing market,” said Sandra Perez Torres, senior market analyst for the region, in a statement. “Single-detached and row construction continue the revitalizing trend started earlier in the second quarter. Nonetheless, housing starts in (Ottawa) are forecast to moderate from last year’s strong level.”

The CMHC’s main metric for measuring housing starts, a six-month moving average of seasonally adjusted annual rates, recorded a jump to 5,689 units in June compared with 5,140 units a month earlier.

But the Ottawa market is still behind the overall pace for housing starts set in 2012. There were 3,798 starts between January and June of last year, compared with 2,961 for the first half of 2013. However, that’s due to an unusual spike in activity in May 2012.

Apartment starts remained concentrated in the downtown core in June, giving this part of the city the lion’s share of total starts at 40 per cent, the CMHC said. Kanata was next, capturing more than a quarter of all starts activity, led by single-detached and row construction.