By Robb M. Stewart

Ottawa, Nov 9 (WSJ) - Canadian housing starts saw a modest increase last month, primarily driven by multi-unit buildings, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).

The data released on Thursday revealed that housing starts in October reached a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 274,681 units, marking a 1.5% rise from September. Economists at TD Securities had anticipated the start of 256,000 residential housing projects for the month.

CMHC also reported that the trend measure, which is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts, rose by 0.9% to 256,280 units in October.

Urban housing starts showed a 2% increase for the month, driven by a 1% growth in multi-family units such as condominiums and row houses to 209,887. Meanwhile, the starts for single detached units surged by 9% to reach 47,470 units.

However, year-to-date housing starts in urban centers across Canada were down by 7%, primarily due to a decline in single-detached starts.

In terms of specific regions, Montreal witnessed a significant decline of 43% in total housing starts, while Toronto experienced a decrease of 24%. In contrast, Vancouver recorded a notable increase of 35%, mainly attributed to a rise in multi-unit starts.

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