OTTAWA (Reuters) - The value of Canadian building permits issued in January sank by 12.9 percent to C$6.13 billion ($4.90 billion), pulled down by sharply lower construction intentions for non-residential buildings, Statistics Canada said on Friday.
Market analysts had forecast a 4.3 percent drop. Revised figures showed a 6.1 percent gain in December.
The value of non-residential permits dropped by 22.8 percent in January on weaker demand in the major provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. Construction intentions fell for educational institutions, medical facilities and nursing homes.
The value of residential permits dropped by 7.0 percent, largely due to a 21.0 percent drop in permits for multifamily dwellings - a fourth consecutive monthly decline.
The news will be of interest to the Canadian government, which says it is closely watching the booming condo market but has so far played down talk of a bubble.
Reporting by David Ljunggren Editing by W Simon