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Canadian May Building Permits Rise Led by Toronto and Vancouver

Canadian building permits rose in May, led by multi-family dwellings in Toronto and Vancouver and national gains in commercial projects such as shopping malls.

The value of municipal permits rose 13.8 percent to C$6.95 billion ($6.53 billion), Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa, faster than the 2 percent gain forecast in a Bloomberg economist survey with nine responses. Toronto permits jumped 37.6 percent to C$1.47 billion in May, and in Vancouver they surged 59.4 percent to C$594 million.

Finance Minister Joe Oliver and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz have said the housing market appears to be stabilizing after a boom fueled by low mortgage rates. Both policy makers have said there are risks from a buildup of consumer debt and a surge in construction of condominiums in larger cities.

Nationwide permits for multiple-unit housing including apartments and condos rose 16.1 percent to C$1.85 billion in May, leading the 9.5 percent increase in residential intentions to C$4.13 billion. Permits for single-family homes climbed 4.6 percent to C$2.28 billion.

Permits for non-residential construction rose 20.8 percent to C$2.81 billion, the largest gain since July 2013, led by a 39.4 percent jump in commercial projects to C$1.82 billion.

Municipalities approved 17,415 housing units in May, a gain of 11.8 percent on the month. The number of units approved for single-family residences rose 2.8 percent and multiple-family project approvals increased 17.3 percent.

Statistics Canada revised the estimated April gain in permits to 2.2 percent from an initial report of 1.1 percent.

The value of permits was 6.4 percent lower in May than the same month a year earlier.

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