Multifamily Housing Drives Canada’s Building Permits Up 15 Percent

Ottawa–Canadian building permits grew 15 percent in April, due mostly to apartment and condominium demand–the largest increase in nearly a year, according to Statistics Canada.The value of municipality-issued permits swelled to a six-month high of C$6.4 billion ($6.27 billion), Bloomberg reported Friday.Multifamily housing unit permits reached the highest point since 2005, increasing 40 percent. As housing costs rise, buyer demand is moving from single-family homes to less expensive condos and apartments, according to Statistics Canada.Canada’s average apartment vacancy rate dropped from 2.8 percent in 2007 to 2.6 percent in April, Canada Mortgage and Housing said in a separate report.Because banks issued fewer subprime mortgages than the U.S. and wages are increasing as unemployment declines, the Canadian housing market is “healthy,” the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said in May.