It says the May figure of 19,264 estimated actual starts was more in line with the pace of the previous six months.
On a seasonally adjusted annual basis, May starts hit 211,400 compared with 243,800 in April.
The adjusted figure smooths out seasonal fluctuations and calculates an annual figure as if the monthly number held steady for a year.
The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts slipped by 15.8 per cent to 189,600 units in May, with urban single starts down 4.2 per cent and multiple starts off 20.7 per cent.
On the same basis, urban starts decreased by 35.8 per cent in Quebec, by 18.3 per cent in Ontario and by 7.7 per cent in the Prairies.
Urban starts were up 6.4 per cent in Atlantic Canada and 20.9 per cent in British Columbia.
"As anticipated, the pace of housing starts observed in April was not sustained in May," said Mathieu Laberge, deputy chief economist at CMHC’s market analysis centre. "In fact, the pace in May was more in line with the average over the last six months.
"Although some ups and downs are likely to continue in the months ahead, the pace of housing starts should trend lower as the year progresses."
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