Housing starts fall 18% in Ottawa

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Housing starts in the Ottawa area dropped 18 per cent year-over-year in September, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

However, on a year-to-date basis, new home construction in the nation’s capital is higher than at this point last year.

Overall starts fell to 512, down from 627 starts last September. Drops in both single and multiple housing starts were behind the fall in overall numbers. Multiple housing lagged seven per cent to 394 starts, while single houses plunged nearly 42 per cent to 118 starts.

“The first three quarters of the year showed a definite trend increase favouring multi-family starts,” stated Sandra Pérez Torres, CMHC’s senior market analyst for eastern and northern Ontario.

“Although low mortgage rates and full-time employment gains keep supporting demand, housing prices direct consumers towards more affordable dwellings.”

Total housing starts on a year-to-date basis remained ahead of last year’s pace, with 4,971 starts recorded this year. That’s a 21-per-cent increase over the 4,076 recorded in 2011.

On an annualized basis, CMHC recorded 6,234 local housing starts in September using a monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate.

SAAR represents monthly figures that are adjusted to remove seasonal variation, and then multiplied by 12 to measure annual levels.

“This facilitates comparison of the current pace of activity to annual forecasts as well as to historical annual levels,” CMHC stated.