Canadian Building Permits Shoot Through The Roof

Greg Quinn, Bloomberg News
Source: Financial Post

Canadian building permits rose to a record in July as the value of projects such as shopping malls and office buildings almost doubled, government figures showed.

The value of municipal permits rose 20.7% to $7.99 billion, Statistics Canada said Monday in Ottawa. The gain exceeded all 10 forecasts in a Bloomberg economist survey that had a median increase of 3.5%.

Permits for non-residential construction rose 45.5% to a record $3.86 billion, including an 89.2% jump in commercial buildings to $2.56 billion.

The report adds to signs that domestic demand continues to lead the world’s 11th-largest economy as exports falter. Statistics Canada reported faster-than-expected job growth last week and said Aug. 30 that consumption led output growth during the second quarter.

Statistics Canada said Monday that the value of residential building permits rose 4.1% in July to $4.14 billion. Single-family housing permits also rose by 4.1%, to $2.24 billion, while multiple-unit projects such as apartments and condominiums increased 4.2% to $1.89 billion.

The housing market gains come as Bank of Canada policy makers predict housing will be a drag on economic growth this year and next, after they warned about overbuilding in cities such as Toronto and Vancouver. The central bank last week kept its key lending rate at 1% and said there are signs of a “constructive evolution” of household imbalances after debt levels reached a record share of income last year.

The value of permits in July was 17.2% higher than 12 months earlier, Statistics Canada said. The agency Monday also revised its estimate of June’s decrease to 10.6% from 10.3%.

By province, permits rose the fastest in Ontario on commercial projects while British Columbia intentions dropped led by multi-family housing and commercial work, Statistics Canada said.

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