April building permits unexpectedly plunge

Mon Jun 6, 2011 8:40am EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The value of building permits issued in April unexpectedly plummeted 21.1 percent from March on weakness in the powerful province of Ontario, Statistics Canada data indicated on Monday.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a 6.0 percent decline from the near four-year high recorded in March. Statscan revised March's increase to 16.8 percent from an initial 17.2 percent.

April's month-on-month fall was the largest since the 23.7 percent drop recorded in January 2006.

In the residential sector, permits fell 12.6 percent in April on lower intentions in the multifamily component in Ontario. In the nonresidential sector the value of permits dropped 33.2 percent on lower construction intentions for institutional buildings in Ontario.

The total value of permits fell in seven provinces with Ontario -- which accounted for over a third of all permits issued in April -- posting by far the largest decline of 41.9 percent.

Compared with April 2010, total building permits declined 19.7 percent, with residential permits down 7.8 percent and nonresidential permits down 35.2 percent.

($1=$0.97 Canadian)

(Reporting by David Ljunggren, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

<p>Builders work on the the roof of a new home under construction in the Montreal suburb of Brossard, August 10, 2010. REUTERS/Shaun Best</p>