Canada Building Permits Fall in December on Multi-Unit Housing

Canadian building permits fell for a second month in December as multiple-unit housing projects dropped to the lowest level in nine months.

The value of municipal permits fell 4.1 percent to C$6.48 billion ($5.86 billion), following a 6.6 percent decline in November, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. Economists forecast a 1.5 percent gain according to the median of eight responses to a Bloomberg survey.

Residential permits fell 9.3 percent to C$3.70 billion as projects such as apartments and condominiums plunged 21.9 percent to C$1.47 billion. Single-family home permits posted a 1.5 percent increase to C$2.23 billion.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz has said the housing market is headed for a “soft landing” after years where low interest rates propelled purchases. The central bank and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty have also warned about the dangers posed by record consumer debt levels that have resulted from loose monetary policy.

Permits for non-residential construction rose 3.7 percent to C$2.78 billion in December. Institutional projects such as hospitals more than doubled to C$939 million led by spending in Quebec, while industrial permits rose 34.9 percent to C$576 million. Commercial projects such as offices dropped 33.5 percent to C$1.26 billion.

Building permits for all of 2013 totaled C$80.8 billion, down 0.1 percent from 2012, Statistics Canada said, with both residential and non-residential projects little changed.

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