March 7, 2011 / 1:58 PM / in 7 years

January building permits fall unexpectedly

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The overall value of Canadian building permits unexpectedly dropped by 5.1 percent in January from December on a decline in the residential and nonresidential sectors, Statistics Canada data indicated on Monday.

Analysts had expected a 0.7 percent increase in the seasonally adjusted figure.

The value of nonresidential permits fell by 13.3 percent -- the third consecutive monthly decline -- to the lowest level since February 2009. Industrial building permits tumbled by 33.5 percent, institutional dropped by 19.4 percent while commercial was off by 1.7 percent.

Residential permits slipped by 0.9 percent from December on a 17.5 percent fall in multifamily dwellings. The value of permits for single-family dwellings rose by 12.2 percent to their highest level since April 2010.

In January, the total value of building permits fell in six of the 10 provinces, with the largest decreases occurring in Ontario and Alberta.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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