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Pace of housing starts hits highest level since September 2007

A townhouse complex is under construction in Toronto on Thursday, November 3, 2016.

Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The annual pace of housing starts increased more than expected in March and hit their highest level since September 2007.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts for March came in at 253,720 units, up from 214,253 in February.

Economists had expected a reading of 215,000 for last month, according to Thomson Reuters.

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The overall increase came as the annual pace of urban starts increased by 20.2 per cent to 235,674 units, boosted by an increase in multi-unit starts.

Multi-unit urban starts increased by 30.2 per cent to 160,989, while single-detached urban starts increased by 3.1 per cent to 74,685 units. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 18,046.

CMHC's trend measure, a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate, increased to 211,342 units in March compared with 205,521 in February.

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