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Canada building permits rise in Dec on residential plans

[OTTAWA] The value of Canadian building permits rose more than expected in December, boosted by plans to build single-family homes in Ontario, which took steps to cool the Toronto market earlier last year, data from Statistics Canada showed on Wednesday.

The overall seasonally-adjusted 4.8 per cent increase in building permits topped economists' forecasts for a 2 per cent gain. November was upwardly revised to a decline of 7.3 per cent from the initially reported 7.7 per cent decline.

Residential permits rose 8 per cent nationally, as the province of Ontario saw a 15.7 per cent jump in construction intentions for single-family homes.

The Ontario government implemented a number of measures last spring to rein in rampant price increases in Toronto and the surrounding areas. While single-family building permits declined in Toronto in December, that was offset by increases in the nearby Barrie and Kitchener regions.

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Plans for multi-family homes, which include condominiums and townhouses, also drove permits higher, with construction intentions led by British Columbia.

Nonresidential permits dipped 0.6 per cent as a decline in plans for commercial and institutional buildings offset a jump in the industrial component.

On a non-adjusted basis, building permits rose 10.4 per cent in 2017, the biggest increase since 2010, as both residential and non-residential building plans increased.