The North American country began on residential projects at a seasonally adjusted annualised rate of 180,248 units in January 2014, according to official data
This was the slowest rate since April 2013, according to the figures from national agency the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
It brought the more closely-watched trend figure – a moving average of the last six months’ figures – down 1.5 per cent to 191,456 units.
‘The trend in housing starts decreased slightly in January, while the inventory of newly completed and unabsorbed units saw a modest downward trend in the last half of 2013,’ said CMHC deputy chief economist Mathieu Laberge.
‘This is consistent with our expectation that builders will continue to gradually adjust activity in order to manage their levels of inventory.’
The standalone rate of urban starts decreased by 2.7 per cent in January to 163,158 units. Rural starts were down 12.0 per cent to 17,090 units.
But there was some good news, with single-detached urban starts up 3.4 per cent to 60,869 units.
There were also increases in the rate of housing starts in towns and cities in the Prairies and Ontario.
Atlantic Canada, Quebec and British Columbia saw a dip in the pace of new building.