Monday, December 8, 2008

New Housing Construction

Construction of new housing in Ottawa fell 36 per cent in November, led by big declines in townhouse units, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said Monday.

Despite the big decline, housing starts are still running 7.7 per cent ahead of last year as builders put shovels in the ground for developments that were sold earlier in the year before sales of new units plunged this fall..

CMHC said that construction started on 492 units during the month, down from 769 units a year earlier. The big decline followed an unusually strong October in which Ottawa bucked a national decline in starts triggered by economic problems.

The number of new row housing units fell 61 per cent 108 units and single-family starts declined 31 per cent 266 units.

The declines were partly offset by increased construction of semi-detached and apartment units.

Despite a significandt decline in single-family housing starts to 266 units from 386 units a year earlier, it was still the single biggest generator of housing construction during November — a testamant to the fact that despite rising prices, buying a single-family unit is still more affordable here than in most big Canadian cities.

Sandra Perez Torres, senior Market Analyst at CMHC, said in a statement: “Single-detached construction is a better barometer of the health of the new construction market. After exceptional new construction activity in October, single detached construction still represented over half of total construction in November.

"Total housing foundations for this type of dwelling remained at a very high level, just marginally lower than last year’s numbers”, she said.

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