September 7, 2017 / 1:04 PM / in 3 months

Fewer commercial plans pull Canada building permits down in July

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The value of Canadian building permits fell more than expected in July on lower construction intentions for commercial buildings, while residential plans declined for the first time in three months, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: A row of houses under construction are seen at a subdivision near the town of Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada May 13, 2017. Picture taken May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

The 3.5 percent decrease in total building permits exceeded forecasts for a decline of 1.5 percent. June was upwardly revised to show an increase of 4.4 percent from the previously reported 2.5 percent.

Non-residential building permits tumbled 5.7 percent in July as lower construction intentions for office buildings pulled commercial permits down 14.7 percent.

Residential permits fell 2.2 percent, the first decline since April, as a 7.4 percent drop in multi-family building permits offset a 3.6 percent increase in plans to build single-family homes.

Ontario led the decrease in multi-family permits as the province saw fewer intentions to build row houses, particularly in the major city of Toronto.

Toronto has seen home sales fall in recent months since the provincial government took a number of steps to rein in the hot market, including implementing a foreign buyers tax.

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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