UPDATE 1-Canada building permits surge in Oct, led by Alberta

Tue Dec 8, 2015 8:45am EST
 
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(Adds details from report)

OTTAWA Dec 8 (Reuters) - The value of Canadian building permits rose far more than expected in October, led by a surge in activity in Alberta ahead of planned changes to the province's building code, data from Statistics Canada showed on Tuesday.

Permits jumped 9.1 percent after two consecutive months of decline, easily topping economists' forecasts for a gain of 3.2 percent.

A 15.5 percent increase in residential building permits was responsible for the gain on a national level, fueled by a 35.4 percent increase in plans for multi-family dwellings. Building plans for single-family homes edged down 0.3 percent.

In Alberta, where the economy has been hit by the slump in oil prices, the value of total building permits soared to a record high of C$2.2 billion ($1.62 billion) amid an increase in construction intentions for multi-family, institutional and commercial buildings.

The hefty gain was largely attributable to contractors applying for permits ahead of the start of November, when the transition for implementing Alberta's new building code ended, the agency said.

Nationally, non-residential construction intentions slipped 0.2 percent, with fewer plans for warehouses, office buildings and hotels and restaurants. But Alberta bucked the trend with a large increase, partially offsetting the overall decline.

($1 = 1.3581 Canadian)

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)