Canadian Building Permits Fall 6.5% in October as Residential Work Drops

Canadian building permits declined in October, as single-family projects declined for the sixth time in the last seven months, government figures showed.

The total value of permits issued by municipalities decreased 6.5 percent to C$6.16 billion ($6.13 billion), “comparable to levels prior to the economic downturn,” Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. Economists predicted a 4 percent decrease based on the median of 13 responses to a Bloomberg News survey.

Canada’s economic growth slowed to a less-than-expected third-quarter annualized pace of 1 percent, in part because of slower housing activity, Statistics Canada said last week. The Bank of Canada says housing will be a drag on growth in 2011 after it helped lead the country out of a recession last year.

Residential permits decreased 11.2 percent to C$3.42 billion, Statistics Canada said. Single-family permits fell 9.4 percent to C$2.02 billion and multiple-unit structures dropped 13.6 percent to C$1.4 billion.

Permits for non-residential construction rose 0.1 percent to C$2.74 billion in October.

Commercial projects rose 8.8 percent to C$1.65 billion, the highest since May 2008. Institutional permits fell 20.4 percent to C$685 million, following a 23.7 percent increase in September.

By province, Ontario and Quebec led declines in both residential and non-residential projects, the report said.

The total value of building permits for October was 1.1 percent lower than the year-ago month, the report said.

Statistics Canada also revised its estimate for the September advance in building permits to 14.9 percent from the originally reported 15.3 percent rise.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Quinn in Ottawa at gquinn1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net; Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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