The overall value of Canadian building permits unexpectedly dropped by 5.1 per cent in January from December on a decline in the residential and nonresidential sectors, Statistics Canada data indicated Monday.
Analysts had expected a 0.7 per cent increase in the seasonally adjusted figure.
The value of nonresidential permits fell by 13.3 per cent - the third consecutive monthly decline - to the lowest level since February 2009. Industrial building permits tumbled by 33.5 per cent, institutional dropped by 19.4 per cent while commercial was off by 1.7 per cent.
Residential permits slipped by 0.9 per cent from December on a 17.5 per cent fall in multifamily dwellings. The value of permits for single-family dwellings rose by 12.2 per cent 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.