Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. predicted Wednesday that housing starts across the country should stay at current levels for the rest of this year and into 2012.

The agency's third quarter forecast calls for starts on 183,200 units in 2011 and 183,900 next year.

It said starts have been strong in the last few months, but are expected to moderate to be more in in line with the growth in the population.

It said that immigration and low mortgage rates are supporting Canada's housing sector, despite the recent financial turmoil in the markets.

CMHC's forecast for existing home sales is 446,700 units, about the same as last year. It predicts modest sales growth in 2012, to 458,000 units.

With files from The Canadian Press