UPDATE 1-Canada building permits see biggest jump in 6 mths in March

Thu May 7, 2015 8:40am EDT
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(Adds details from report)

OTTAWA May 7 (Reuters) - The value of Canadian building permits saw its biggest increase in six months in March, helped by a gain in construction intentions for multi-family homes in Ontario and British Columbia, data from Statistics Canada showed on Thursday.

The value of permits issued for the month jumped 11.6 percent to C$6.87 billion ($5.69 billion), handily topping economists' forecasts for a gain of 2.5 percent.

It was the first increase in three months and the biggest gain since September 2014, the agency said.

The value of non-residential permits climbed 22.1 percent, with increases seen in several provinces, including British Columbia and Alberta. Construction intentions were higher for a variety of institutional and commercial buildings.

Residential permits rose 6.6 percent, driven by a 19.6 percent rise in plans for multi-family buildings, which includes primarily apartments and condominiums. Construction plans for single-family homes slipped 3.4 percent, down for the second month in a row, with oil-sensitive Alberta seeing the largest drop.

($1 = $1.2078 Canadian) (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)