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Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the pace of housing starts picked up in March.

The national housing agency says the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts climbed to 192,527 units in March, compared with 166,290 units in February. February’s pace was likely depressed by colder-than-normal temperatures in some parts of the country, said Andrew Grantham, senior economist at CIBC, in emailed commentary.

Economists on average had expected an annual pace of 196,500, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

Today’s reading came as starts of urban multiple-unit projects such as condominiums, apartments and townhouses increased 18.6% to 135,894 units in March. The rate of single-detached urban starts rose 12.1% to 42,139 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14,494 units.

The six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 202,279 in March compared with 202,039 in February, which indicates a slowing trend, said Grantham. As such, housing activity will remain a drag on GDP growth this year, he said.