The pace of home construction rose to 230,701 units a year in September, the highest level in three years, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation says.

The last time the figure eclipsed the 230,000 level was in August 2012.

Economists had been expecting a pullback to around 202,000 during the month, but a mini-surge in construction of rental properties moved the number higher.

"Activity is now above the projected annual pace of around 190,000 new households," CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said in a note. "This underscores the continuing need for inventory management to minimize the number of completed but unsold units."

The multi-unit segment, which includes condos and apartment buildings, rose by 10.5 per cent to 157,919 units. The single-detached segment, meanwhile, ticked up 0.8 per cent to 58,275 units.


The pace of home construction rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of more than 230,000 units in September, the CMHC said, largely because of strong activity in condos and apartments. (Canadian Press)

It has been the trend for a while, with strong activity in multiples, but a comparative slowdown in the traditional single-family home. Scotiabank noted after the numbers were released that so far this year, multiples have risen 12.3 per cent, while single-detached homes have dropped 8.4 per cent.

"Starts are now at their highest since August 2012, having accelerated quite sharply since February of this year," the bank said.

Home construction activity increased in Quebec, the Prairies, Atlantic Canada and British Columbia, but decreased in Ontario.