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Canada’s building permits slump to 10-month low

Construction continues in downtown Calgary, Nov. 27, 2012.

Todd Korol/The Globe and Mail

The value of building permits issued in Canada during November tumbled to the lowest level since January, 2012, due mainly to a slowdown in housing and non-housing construction in the province of Ontario, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.

Building permits slid 17.9 per cent to $6.2-billion, the biggest monthly drop in 19 months in percentage and value terms, following a 15.9-per-cent increase in October. Statscan revised its October estimate from a 15-per-cent gain previously.

The decline in November was far steeper than the 7.6-per-cent drop forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll.

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Despite the setback in November, permits issued in the first 11 months of 2012 was 11 per cent higher than in the same period of 2011 and surpassed the pre-recession peak in 2007.

Residential permits fell 6.8 per cent over all, led by Ontario where a slump was partially offset by gains in the western provinces and Quebec. Single-family housing permits slipped 4 per cent while multifamily dwellings fell 10.8 per cent.

In the non-residential sector, permits fell 30.6 per cent in November following a 53.6 per cent increase in October.

Compared with November 2011, the value of residential permits was down 1.9 per cent while that of non-residential permits was 3.7 per cent higher, Statscan said.

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