In January the number of housing starts in Canada kept pace with the previous month, says the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

The government agency reported Thursday that the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 216,210 units last month, compared to 216,275 in December.

Urban starts increased from 197,956 in December to 198,400, while rural starts saw a slight decline. Within the urban category, single-detached starts increased from 63,326 to 63,715 in January, while other housing was virtually the same as in December.

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National Bank economist Jocelyn Paquet said in a research note on Thursday that housing starts still managed to top expectations of 210,000.

“Ontario really drove the show in the month, with urban area starts there jumping 20.8K (to 82.2K),” she wrote. Excluding Canada’s largest province, starts were down 20,200—the largest decline since April—with B.C. and Quebec both decreasing.

Residential construction “faces several headwinds,” including rising interest rates and stricter mortgage rules, she wrote. “That said, the strong labour market should help keep starts close to levels we consider sufficient to cover demographic needs (i.e., around 190K).”

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