August 8, 2016 / 12:52 PM / 2 years ago

Canada June building permits drop on lower multi-family plans

A construction worker works on a new house being built in a suburb located north of Toronto in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada on June 29, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/File Photo - RTSI7GA

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The value of Canadian building permits unexpectedly sank in June, hurt by a drop in construction intentions for apartment and condominium buildings in Ontario and British Columbia, data from Statistics Canada showed on Monday.

The 5.5 percent decrease in the value of national building permits fell short of economists’ expectations for a gain of 1.5 percent. May was downwardly revised to a 2.1 percent decline from an initially reported 1.9 percent decrease.

Permits for residential buildings fell for the third month in a row, down 5.0 percent as plans for multi-family buildings, which include apartments and condominiums, tumbled 15.8 percent. That eclipsed a 4.2 percent increase in plans for single-family homes.

The decline in building intentions for multi-family buildings was led by the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, home to two of the hottest housing markets in the country, Toronto and Vancouver.

In Vancouver, which recently introduced a tax on foreign home buyers, permits slumped 25.2 percent, mainly due to reduced plans for multi-family units. That slide came before the tax was announced in late July.

The value of non-residential permits also declined nationally, falling 6.2 percent. Permits for institutional buildings tumbled 20.6 percent on fewer construction intentions for hospitals, while industrial building plans fell 8.7 percent.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson

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