A hot Ontario condo market helped boost the value of Canadian building permits to a 4 1/2-year high in December and up 11.1 per cent from November, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.
The value of permits rose to a seasonally adjusted $6.8-billion, the highest level since June, 2007. The increase confounded analysts, who on average expected a 0.5-per-cent fall, according to a Reuters survey.
The residential sector jumped 16.1 per cent, led by a 28.9-per-cent leap in construction intentions for multifamily dwellings to $1.9-billion, the highest since December, 2005.
“The growth was due to major condominium and apartment building projects initiated in Ontario,” the agency said, adding that Toronto led the way.
The Bank of Canada has expressed concern about the housing market, particularly condos, saying properties were overvalued in some markets.
The non-residential sector, which is more volatile because of the large value of individual projects, rose 2.8 per cent. The commercial component jumped 41.0 per cent, while industrial permits fell by 24.2 per cent and institutional fell by 42.2 per cent.