OTTAWA (Reuters) - The value of Canadian building permits tumbled in May, giving back some of the past two months' strong gains as builders planned to construct fewer multi-family homes and institutional facilities, data from Statistics Canada showed on Wednesday.
The value of permits fell 14.5 percent to C$6.7 billion ($5.3 billion), far worse than economists' expectations for a decline of 5 percent. The drop more than erased April's upwardly revised 12.1 percent gain.
While the building permits figures can see large swings in both directions, the report was the latest to suggest the economy was struggling to recover momentum after contracting in the first quarter of the year.
Building permits in the residential sector dropped 13.5 percent as intentions for multi-family homes slid 22.9 percent, the second straight month of declines.
Permits for single-family homes fell by 5.5 percent, the third decline in four months. The largest declines were in the provinces of Ontario and oil-sensitive Alberta.
Non-residential permits fell by 16.0 percent as intentions for institutional buildings dropped 34.0 percent on lower building plans for medical facilities, which saw a large increase the month before. Plans to build industrial facilities fell by 15.6 percent.
Reporting by Leah Schnurr