OTTAWA (Reuters) - The value of permits obtained by Canadian builders leapt 14.8 percent in May from April, far surpassing expectations on a comeback in both the housing and nonresidential sectors, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.
The permits, an early indicator of construction activity, surged to over C$5 billion ($4.3 billion) for the first time since last October, surprising market players who had forecast a 0.7 percent gain. Permits fell 4.5 percent in April.
Residential permits rose for the third straight month, up 14.4 percent due largely to plans for multifamily units in the central province of Ontario.
Municipalities issued 40.6 percent more permits for multiple family dwellings in May than in April and 1.4 percent more permits for single-family dwellings.
Nonresidential permits jumped 15.3 percent on intentions for medical buildings in Alberta and educational establishments in Ontario, Statscan said. Overall, permits for institutional buildings skyrocketed 47.9 percent while industrial permits rose 7.3 percent and commercial permits fell 0.3 percent.
Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by Andrea Ricci