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Canada Building Permits Drop to Lowest in a Year in February

The value of Canadian building permits fell to the lowest in a year in February as residential intentions dropped from a record high.

Municipally-issued permits declined 11.6 percent to C$6.15 billion ($5.63 billion), following a revised 8.1 percent advance in January, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. The drop was almost triple the lowest forecast in a Bloomberg News economist survey with nine responses.

Residential permits dropped 21 percent to C$3.63 billion, almost reversing the gain in January to a record C$4.59 billion. Permits for non-residential construction increased 6.6 percent to C$2.52 billion.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz has said the housing market is heading for a “soft landing” as consumer debts stabilize around record highs. The next move in the central bank’s 1 percent overnight interest will depend on economic data, Poloz said.

Permits for housing projects such as apartments and condominiums, a focus of concern for policy makers because of signs of overbuilding in some cities, fell 31.5 percent to C$1.45 billion. Single-family housing permits fell 12.0 percent to C$2.18 billion.

Building permits issued by Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, Canada’s three largest cities, fell 20 percent on average, according to the agency’s data.

The value of permits was 3.8 percent higher in February than the same month a year earlier.

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