March 5, 2009 / 1:43 PM / in 9 years

Housing slump hits Canada January building permits

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The value of Canadian building permits fell in January for the fourth straight month as plans for housing projects plummeted at the fastest pace in nearly two years, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.

<p>Construction workers frame a house at a new home development in Ottawa July 9, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>

Building permits, an early indicator of construction activity, fell 4.6 percent from December, slightly better than the 5 percent decline forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll.

Statscan revised the December estimate of building permits to a decrease of 3.6 percent from a decrease of 3.9 percent previously.

In a sign Canada’s housing market is in sharp decline, permits for residential construction slid 17.5 percent in the month, the sixth straight decline and the sharpest since February 2007. Multifamily dwellings tumbled 36.2 percent while single-family housing decreased 4.3 percent.

In the nonresidential sector, permits climbed 12.2 percent in value, boosted by plans for medical institutions, warehouses and recreational facilities in the province of Ontario.

Statscan report:


($1 = $1.29 Canadian)

Reporting by Louise Egan, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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