Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

April 08, 2014 08:15 ET

March 2014 Housing Starts in Ottawa

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 8, 2014) - Housing starts in Ottawa Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) were trending at 4,509 units in March compared to 4,905 units in February according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR)(1) of housing starts.

"Seasonally adjusted housing starts activity picked up in March on the back of slightly higher number of apartment units started. Nevertheless, strength in apartment construction will be short lived as its starts return to historical trends after record levels in the two previous years. On the other hand, strong income growth in the Ottawa region coupled with low mortgage rates will continue to stimulate demand for townhomes. Townhomes provide bigger living spaces, while remaining at reach of first-time home buyers," said Sandra Perez Torres, Senior Market Analyst for Eastern and Northern Ontario.

CMHC uses the trend measure as a complement to the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for considerable swings in monthly estimates and obtain a more complete picture of the state of the housing market. In some situations, analysing only SAAR data can be misleading in some markets, as they are largely driven by the multiples segment of the markets, which can be quite variable from one month to the next. The multiples segment includes apartments, rows and semi-detached homes.

In Ottawa, the standalone monthly SAAR was 5,375 units in March up from 2,179 units in February.

Just over half of all starts took place in Old Ottawa City (the core) due to a pickup in apartment construction this month. Cumberland scored second place as it captured 19 per cent of new construction, the highest share in activity in this region since 2010. Kanata and Nepean (outside the Greenbelt) retreated to third and fourth place as single-detached construction moderated. Year-to-date activity saw Old Ottawa City and Nepean (outside the Greenbelt) together seizing half of all Ottawa starts activity with 30 per cent in favour of the former. Nepean`s (outside the Greenbelt) strong activity resulted from capturing a high share of single and row starts.

Preliminary Housing Starts data is also available in English and French at the following link:
Preliminary Housing Starts Tables

(1) All starts figures in this release, other than actual starts and the trend estimate, are seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) - that is, monthly figures adjusted to remove normal seasonal variation and multiplied by 12 to reflect annual levels. By removing seasonal ups and downs, seasonal adjustment allows for a comparison from one season to the next and from one month to the next. Reporting monthly figures at annual rates indicates the annual level of starts that would be obtained if the monthly pace was maintained for 12 months. This facilitates comparison of the current pace of activity to annual forecasts as well as to historical annual levels.

As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 65 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable housing solutions. CMHC also provides reliable, impartial and up-to-date housing market reports, analysis and knowledge to support and assist consumers and the housing industry in making informed decisions.

Follow CMHC on Twitter @CMHC_ca

Additional data is available upon request.

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Tables and a graph are available at the following address:

Contact Information

  • Sandra Perez-Torres, Senior Market Analyst

    National Media Contact:
    Beth Bailey, Consultant, Communications and Marketing
    (416) 218-3355