OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 8, 2011) - According to the latest preliminary data released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), total housing starts in the Ottawa Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) reached 297 units in February, a slight decrease of 2 per cent from a year ago.

Total activity was almost identical to last year's February starts, with the notable exception being the different types of dwellings that are being constructed now versus one year ago. While last year's starts were evenly split among single and multiple family dwellings, this year's trend continues with two-thirds of new units built being of the multiple family variety.

Activity in the townhome and apartment segments helped bolster up February's construction numbers. "New home activity remains firm in the region and this is particularly attributable to continued strong economic indicators in the Ottawa area," said Rocco Caminiti, Market Analyst at CMHC. "Employment reached a level we haven't seen since June 2010. In addition, average weekly earnings continue to reach record levels, thus propping up housing demand," added Caminiti.

To view the Ottawa Housing Starts, 2009 - 2011 graph, please visit the following link:

The old City of Ottawa led the way in the region, as activity continued to progress in the downtown core. Multiples were prosperous as 91 per cent of new construction in the core was of the condominium variety. There was no other activity inside the Greenbelt in February. Clarence-Rockland was the only other submarket that had condo activity, while West-Carleton and Osgoode only had single activity. The remaining areas had both townhome and single activity, with 60 per cent favouring new townhome construction.

To view the Housing Starts by Area, February 2010 and February 2011 graph, please visit the following link:

On a year-to-date basis, Ottawa also leads the way on volume, followed closely by Nepean and Cumberland. Ottawa and Goulbourn are the only areas to date with higher construction activity in their respective areas compared to last year. What is of interest is that Greenbelt construction was only seen in the core, with Nepean and Gloucester still showing no activity in this space within the first two months of the year. Another shift we have witnessed is within the combined areas of West Carleton, Clarence-Rockland and Russell, which have had single and apartment construction. Where these areas once had only single-family activity, so far this year, singles only make up 57 per cent of new homes, with apartments accounting for the remainder.

To view the Housing Starts by Area, 2010 and 2011 YTD graph, please visit the following link:

Ottawa Housing Starts

  Feb-10 Feb-11 % Change 2010 (YTD) 2011 (YTD) % Change
Single-Detached 148 99 -33.1% 288 202 -29.9%
Multi-Family 156 198 26.9% 387 311 -19.6%
  Semi-Detached 14 9 -35.7% 42 25 -40.5%
  Row House 108 107 -0.9% 287 158 -44.9%
  Apartment 34 82 141.2% 58 128 120.7%
Total 304 297 -2.3% 675 513 -24.0%

As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on 65 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of high quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable homes. 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, visit or call 1-800-668-2642.

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Contact Information: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Ottawa (in English or French):
Rocco Caminiti, Market Analyst
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Ted Tsiakopoulos, Regional Economist
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Charles Sauriol, Senior Media Relations Officer
(613) 748-2799