OTTAWA - 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 per cent increase in building permits topped economists' forecasts for a 2 per cent gain. November was upwardly revised to a decline of 7.3 per cent from the initially reported 7.7 per cent decline.
Residential permits rose 8 per cent nationally, as the province of Ontario saw a 15.7 pe rcent 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 per cent 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 per cent in 2017, the biggest increase since 2010, as both residential and non-residential building plans increased.