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Canada October Building Permits Fall 6.5% on Residential Drop

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.

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