UPDATE 1-Canada Dec building permits fall on multi-unit housing

Wed Feb 5, 2014 8:37am EST

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* Value of permits falls 4.1 pct in Dec vs forecast of 2 pct increase

* Residential permits down 9.3 pct, non-residential up 3.7 pct

* Total permits issued in 2013 little changed from 2012

OTTAWA, Feb 5 (Reuters) - The value of Canadian building permits unexpectedly fell by 4.1 percent in December from November as residential construction intentions sank for the second straight month to the lowest level since March 2013, Statistics Canada data showed on Wednesday.

The median forecast in a Reuters survey of analysts was for a 2 percent increase in permits issued by municipalities across the country. The November decline in permits was revised to 6.6 percent from 6.7 percent. All the figures are seasonally adjusted.

Permits for housing, closely watched amid fears the real estate market is overheated, fell 9.3 percent. Plans for multi-family dwellings tumbled 21.9 percent, offsetting a 1.5 percent increase in single-family homes.

Overall in the year 2013, the total value of building permits was just marginally lower than in 2012, with both residential and non-residential permits little changed, Statscan said.

In December, non-residential permits climbed 3.7 percent due to sharp rises in both the institutional and industrial components of 32.8 percent and 34.9 percent, respectively. Permits issued for commercial buildings fell 33.5 percent.

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A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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