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New housing construction in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, June 26, 2014 (Jeff McIntosh For The Globe and Mail)
New housing construction in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, June 26, 2014 (Jeff McIntosh For The Globe and Mail)

Building permits zoom ahead by 13.8% in May Add to ...

The value of Canadian building permits shot up by 13.8 per cent in May from April, the fastest rate since July 2013, led by commercial buildings, and industrial and residential structures also registered substantial increases, Statistics Canada data indicated on Monday.

The increase far exceeded even the most bullish forecast of a 5.0 per cent rise in a Reuters survey of analysts. The median forecast was for a 3.0 per cent gain.

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Nonresidential permits rose by 20.8 per cent, including a 39.4 per cent jump for commercial buildings; both climbed at the fastest pace in 10 months. Industrial permits increased 22.4 per cent, while institutional permits fell 16.6 per cent after a 37.5 per cent jump in April.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz and Finance Minister Joe Oliver have been looking for a soft landing in the heated housing market, but the value of residential building permits rose by 9.5 per cent, the fastest since January. The actual dollar value, however, was 9.0 per cent lower than in May 2013.

Multi-family dwellings rose for the third straight month, by 16.1 per cent, led by apartments and apartment condos in British Columbia, though they were still 17.2 per cent lower than a year earlier. Single-family dwellings also gained on the month, by 4.6 per cent, with advances in eight of the 10 provinces. All figures are seasonally adjusted.

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