The pace of Canadian housing starts was brisk in March, with construction of apartments and condos remaining strong — aided by continued low interest rates and unseasonably warm weather.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. estimates in its March report that there were 14,517 actual starts last month, which translates to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 215,600 units.
The adjusted figure irons out monthly variations and is calculated as if the March starts continued at the same pace for a year.
March's seasonally adjusted rate was up from 205,300 units in February — a five per cent increase.
CIBC World Markets said housing starts were higher than expected.
"Although we expect starts to soften in due course, the latest figures suggests that, for time being, the housing sector still has a considerable amount of energy, aided by low financing costs," CIBC said.
Meanwhile, the CMHC said the increase in March starts was due to a strong increase in multiple-unit starts, particularly in Ontario and the Prairies, partly offset by decreased multiple starts in British Columbia and Quebec.
Single-detached starts decreased marginally across the country. Both components remained well above year-earlier levels, CIBC noted.
Urban starts rose by 4.2 per cent in March to 192,100 units on a seasonally adjusted annual basis.