Canadian buildings permits drop 6.5% in September

FILE PHOTO: A worker guides a bucket of concrete at a construction site in Ottawa, Canada, April 8, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The value of Canadian building permits dropped by a larger-than-expected 6.5% in September to C$8.3 billion ($6.3 billion) because of declines in the residential sector, Statistics Canada said on Friday.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had predicted a decline of 2.0%. Statistics Canada revised an initial gain of 6.1% in August down to 5.6%.

Gains were reported in four Canadian provinces, with the largest increase in oil-rich Alberta, jumping 7.2%. The largest decline was in Quebec, which saw building permit values drop by 20.5%, mostly on cheaper permits for multi-family dwellings.

The value of residential permits was down 10.7% to C$5.1 billion, Statistics Canada said, with declines reported in eight of the ten Canadian provinces. Meanwhile, the value of commercial permits rose 6.1%, primarily because of several high-value permits for office buildings in Metro Vancouver.

Canadian municipalities, Statscan said, awarded C$25.7 billion in permits in the third quarter, while the total value of permits issued in the first three quarters of 2019 was up 2.2% from the same period in 2018.

Reporting by Kelsey Johnson; Editing by Dale Smith and Chizu Nomiyama