Greater Victoria's construction boom remained red-hot in 2018 with the highest number of housing starts in more than four decades, according to a new report.

The region saw 4,273 housing starts in the region as construction began on a number of projects like Langford's Belmont Residences, new data from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation shows.

That eclipsed the number of housing starts in 2017 by 411, and was the most since 1976.

CMHC also found about half of the 2018 projects were much-needed rental units, helping to raise Victoria's vacancy rate from a dismally low 0.5 per cent to above one per cent.

As more purpose-built rental units go up this year, CMHC analyst Braden Batch said it could help temper skyrocketing rental prices.

"New units will come online. The biggest effect they'll have in the immediate future is that they will prevent rents from going up even more than they would have without these housing starts," said Batch. "They're not necessarily going to bring the rental down right away, that's something that really occurs over a much longer time frame."

A housing start means that foundation has been poured on a residential project, according to CMHC.

The highest number of housing starts in a single year was in 1976, when more than 4,400 starts were reported in Greater Victoria.