Ottawa-Gatineau housing starts level off for second straight month in July: CMHC

Housing starts

Homebuilders in Ottawa-Gatineau continued to ease up on the gas pedal last month after a frenetic pace to start the year, the latest figures from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. show.

Developers started work on 795 new dwellings across the region in July, a 19 per cent drop from a year earlier, CMHC said Tuesday. It marked the second straight monthly decline after several months of robust growth in local housing starts.

Most of the decrease was driven by a steep decline in the number of new multi-residential starts, which declined 35 per cent year-over-year.

Overall, housing starts in Ottawa fell 13 per cent to 647 in July, while across the river in Gatineau, new builds were down 38 per cent to 148.

Meanwhile, the region’s annual pace of housing starts – a rolling average designed to smooth out monthly fluctuations – dipped slightly last month, thanks largely to a significant drop in the number of new projects being launched in Gatineau.

CMHC said the seasonally adjusted annual rate of new builds in Ottawa-Gatineau was 8,402 new homes, a six per cent drop from June. While the pace of new projects edged up about five per cent in Ottawa, the rolling rate of new builds plummeted by nearly 40 per cent in Gatineau.

Nationally, the annual pace of housing starts also fell compared with June.

CHMC says the annual pace of starts fell to 272,176 units in July compared with 281,200 in June.

The drop came as the pace of urban starts edged down 0.65 per cent in July to 249,001.

The annual rate of urban starts for apartments, condos and other types of multiple-unit housing projects fell 3.1 per cent to 184,759, while the pace of single-detached urban starts rose 7.1 per cent to 64,242.

The housing agency estimated rural starts at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 23,175.

The six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 286,620 in July, down from 293,085 in June.

– With additional reporting by the Canadian Pres