December 5, 2013 / 1:42 PM / 6 years ago

Canada October building permits surge, housing strong

Construction workers work on a house in Lac-Megantic, November 21, 2013. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Construction intentions in Canada roared past expectations in October as permits for residential and non-residential buildings rose sharply from September in another sign of renewed strength in the housing market.

The value of building permits jumped 7.4 percent to C$7.19 billion ($6.72 billion) in the month, according to Statistics Canada’s seasonally adjusted data on Thursday, far surpassing the 1.0 percent increase forecast in a Reuters poll. The federal agency also revised up its estimate of permits in September to a gain of 4.1 percent from 1.7 percent initially.

It was the eighth monthly increase since the start of 2013 in the volatile data series, yet the total value of permits in October was down 6.2 percent compared with October 2012.

Construction plans in the housing sector rose 6.4 percent, the highest since May. The biggest gain came from multi-family dwellings, up 8.4 percent on apartment and apartment-condominium plans mainly in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Permits for single-family homes rose 4.7 percent.

Canada’s housing market has shown signs lately of heating up again, fueling fears of a U.S.-style bubble and crash. The Bank of Canada acknowledged the unexpected strength in its interest rate statement on Wednesday but said it still expects a soft landing.

The value of building permits for non-residential projects rose 9 percent as a result of a 22 percent increase in the commercial building component.

Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by James Dalgleish

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