Canadian building permits drop in March, weighed by Alberta

A construction worker works on building a new townhouse in Calgary, Alberta, April 7, 2015. House prices have fallen in Calgary after the price of oil plummeted late last year according to local media reports. REUTERS/Todd Korol

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The value of Canadian building permits issued in March fell by 7.0 percent as construction intentions in oil-producing Alberta dropped following a big jump in February, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.

The decline - the second in three months - was greater than the 5.0 percent retreat forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll.

The value of permits issued in Alberta - hard hit by a slump in crude prices - fell by 41.3 percent. This followed a 43.3 percent increase in February on the back of a big commercial project in the city of Edmonton.

Nationwide, the overall value of non-residential permits fell by 22.8 percent on lower construction intentions for recreational facilities, retail complexes, schools and industrial buildings.

The value of residential building permits increased by 4.8 percent on higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings. The value of permits for single-family dwellings fell slightly.

Reporting by David Ljunggren Editing by W Simon