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New home construction in Richmond Hill, Ont.

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

Canadian housing starts rose in February from the previous month as a significant increase in multiple-unit construction in Quebec boosted the national number, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp said on Thursday.

The seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts was 201,100 units, compared with 198,100 units a month earlier. The January figure was revised up slightly from 197,900 units reported previously.

The number of starts was also mildly above the consensus expectation of analysts, who had called for 200,000 starts.

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"Multiple housing starts in Quebec had fallen nearly 50 per cent in January, so February's rise can be seen as a return to a more normal rate of construction," CMHC's Deputy Chief Economist Mathieu Laberge said in a statement.

"Increases in these provinces were partially offset by decreases in multiple starts in Ontario and Atlantic Canada," Mr. Laberge added.

The CMHC report showed the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts rose by 3.4 per cent to 182,800 units, following a near 50-per-cent increase in Quebec. Urban starts decreased by 15.5 per cent in Atlantic Canada and by 16.9 per cent in Ontario.

Multiple-unit urban starts, which include condominiums, edged up 3.3-per-cent gain to 115,400 units.

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