Townhouse starts increase 102% in December

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Ottawa's housing market saw the number of row housing starts more than double year-over-year in December, while the overall market grew by four per cent.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. recorded 258 townhome starts compared with 128 in December 2010. However, row house starts in all of 2011 declined by about five per cent.

"Construction of townhomes closed the year with solid activity. As such it was the housing type to post the most significant fourth-quarter growth rate compared to 2010," stated Sandra Pérez Torres, CMHC's senior market analyst.

"Townhomes experienced their best month in almost two years, driven by first-time buyers," she added.

Most construction took place outside of the Greenbelt, mainly in Nepean and Cumberland.

Every other sector of the housing market posted declines that month, particularly apartment starts. These fell more than 67 per cent to 42 starts.

Semi-detached starts fell by 41 per cent to 20 starts, while singles fell 2.4 per cent to 243 starts.

On an annual basis, Ottawa's housing market shrank by about 10 per cent. Total starts were 5,794 in 2011 compared with 6,446 in 2010. Apartment starts saw the greatest decline, of 20 per cent, to 1,473 starts.