Ottawa housing starts to fall 13.7% in 2013: CMHC

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Housing starts in Ottawa and Gatineau will fall year-over-year in 2013, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., in line with national numbers.

The decrease will mostly be due to a decline in multi-family homes, although construction of single-detached homes will remain below historic levels.

A housing market outlook released Tuesday forecast overall housing starts in Ottawa will drop 13.7 per cent to 5,200 starts in 2013, down from 6,026 starts in 2012. In Gatineau, starts will decline 16.6 per to 2,300, down from 2,759.

The local trend is similar to what is being observed in the national forecast, where total annual housing starts this year are expected to fall 13.5 per cent with respect to 2012, to 146,495 starts.

“So far in 2013, the average monthly growth rates of MLS sales, new listings and prices have all been increasing. This follows a period of average monthly declines that held sway over the second half of 2012,” stated Mathieu Laberge, CMHC’s deputy chief economist.

“This change in the trend of the resale market is expected to eventually lead to a similar change in the trend of the new home market, as housing starts dynamics typically lag the resale market by one to three quarters.”

While Ottawa will see a decline in its resales on the MLS listing services, Gatineau is projected to stay flat.

Resales on the MLS in Ottawa will have a forecasted decline to 14,000, down 3.4 per cent from 14,497 in 2012. Gatineau’s resales will be 3,825, virtually the same as 2012’s total of 3,812.

Both markets will see resale prices stay virtually flat. The average MLS resale price in Ottawa in 2013 will be $354,000, up from 2012’s total of $352,610. Gatineau’s resale prices are forecasted at $246,000, a rise from 2012’s $241,387.

Residential rental vacancies in Gatineau and Ottawa are also expected to fall. The cities will see rental vacancies of 3.2 per cent and two per cent respectively in 2013. In 2012, Gatineau’s vacancy was 3.3 per cent and Ottawa’s, 2.5 per cent.