Housing starts grew more quickly than anticipated in March, with the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts at 215,600 units, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

At 58,300, the number of overall starts in Toronto stood out nationally and was well above the six-month moving average. So what gives?

“After such high volumes of pre-construction condominium sales over the past couple years, the timing of construction starts for these large projects can inflate the numbers in any given month,” Shaun Hildebrand, a senior analyst at BMO Nesbitt Burns, explained to the Globe.

Shifting our focus to the national scale, urban starts increased by 4.2 per cent to 192,100 units in March and multiple urban starts were up by 8.3 per cent to 124,100 units.

“The upward movement in March was largely due to an increase in multiple starts, particularly in Ontario and the Prairies. This was partly offset by a decrease in multiple starts in British Columbia and Quebec, while single-detached starts decreased marginally country-wide,” said Mathieu Laberge, Deputy Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre.

Ontario and the Prairies  lead the housing start pack, with increases of 30.3 per cent in Ontario and 6.4 per cent in the Prairies. While multiple starts in Ontario increased by 50.4 per cent, the pace is exceptional and not expected to be sustained.

British Columbia and Quebec didn’t fare as well, with urban starts decreasing by 27.7 per cent and 16.3 per cent, respectively.

If you’re more the visual type, here’s a handy graph!

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