UPDATE 1-Canada January building permits edge up after two big falls

Thu Mar 7, 2013 8:36am EST
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* Permits up by 1.7 pct after biggest 2-month drop in 24 yrs

* Residential permits up 17.6 pct, non-residential down 19.2 pct

OTTAWA, March 7 (Reuters) - The value of Canadian building permits edged up by a less-than-expected 1.7 percent in January after posting the biggest two-month fall in 24 years, Statistics Canada data indicated on Thursday.

The increase, less than the 5.3 percent expected by market analysts, follows revised drops of 10.4 percent in December and 16.5 percent in November.

The value of residential building permits increased by 17.6 percent in January over December while non-residential permits dropped by 19.2 percent.

Construction intentions for multi-family dwellings rose by 38.0 percent, the first increase since the government clamped down on mortgages last year to avert a possible housing bubble.

The non-residential sector was dragged down by lower building intentions in the commercial, institutional and industrial components, particularly in Ontario and Quebec - the most populous of Canada's 10 provinces.