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Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the pace of housing starts slowed in December, mostly because of a decline in multiple-unit projects in urban areas.

The housing agency says the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts came in at 197,329 in December, down from 204,320 in November.

Analysts on average had expected an annual rate of 210,000 for December, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

The overall drop came as the pace of urban starts slowed 4% in December to 185,934 on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate. Starts on multiple-unit dwellings in urban areas fell 5% to 138,049, while urban starts of single-detached homes edged up 1% to 47,885.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 11,395 units.

The six-month moving average of the overall monthly seasonally adjusted rate was 212,160 units in December, down from 219,921 in November.