Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the seasonally adjusted annual pace of housing starts in December came in at 207,041 units, up from 187,273 in November.
The increase came as the rate of urban starts climbed 11.8% to 187,621 for the final month of 2016.
Multiple urban starts increased by 13.9% to 120,750, while single-detached urban starts grew 8.1%, to 66,871.
Regionally, the annual pace of urban starts increased in Ontario, Quebec and the Prairies, but decreased in British Columbia and in Atlantic Canada.
Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 19,420 units.
The six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts in Canada stood at 198,053 units in December, compared with 200,105 in November.
In a separate release, Statistics Canada said municipalities issued $7.8 billion worth of building permits in November, down 0.1% from October.
The value of residential building permits fell 1.6% to $5.1 billion in November, while non-residential building permits climbed 3% to $2.6 billion.
CIBC World Markets director Nick Exarhos says in a research note, “Canadian home sales may have started to slip, but starts continue to post healthy results. […] A strong end to the year for new home building is positive for that line item’s contribution to growth, although residential investment may still be dragged lower by sagging real estate fees–as the resale market slows further.”
Exarhos adds the increase of singles and multiples is “another positive reading on the Canadian economy, although less of a surprise than the trade and employment figures released at the end of last week.”