OTTAWA, July 7 The value of Canadian building permits shot up by 13.8 percent 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 percent rise in a Reuters survey of analysts. The median forecast was for a 3.0 percent gain.
Nonresidential permits rose by 20.8 percent, including a 39.4 percent jump for commercial buildings; both climbed at the fastest pace in 10 months. Industrial permits increased 22.4 percent, while institutional permits fell 16.6 percent after a 37.5 percent 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 percent, the fastest since January. The actual dollar value, however, was 9.0 percent lower than in May 2013.
Multi-family dwellings rose for the third straight month, by 16.1 percent, led by apartments and apartment condos in British Columbia, though they were still 17.2 percent lower than a year earlier. Single-family dwellings also gained on the month, by 4.6 percent, with advances in eight of the 10 provinces. All figures are seasonally adjusted. (Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)