Canada building permits rise in December on residential plans

The city's industrial zone looms over residential neighborhoods in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada May 14, 2017. Picture taken May 14, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - 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 percent increase in building permits topped economists’ forecasts for a 2 percent gain. November was upwardly revised to a decline of 7.3 percent from the initially reported 7.7 percent decline.

Residential permits rose 8 percent nationally, as the province of Ontario saw a 15.7 percent 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.

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 percent 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 percent in 2017, the biggest increase since 2010, as both residential and non-residential building plans increased.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Nick Zieminski