The drop, to $6.7 billion, followed two months of double-digit gains. In the residential sector, the value of permits declined 13.5 per cent to $3.9 billion, ending a string of three consecutive monthly increases.
Declines were registered in seven provinces, with Ontario and Alberta responsible for much of the decrease. British Columbia, in turn, reported the largest gain.
The value of multi-family dwelling permits fell for a second consecutive month, down 22.9 per cent to $1.6 billion.
In the non-residential sector, the value of permits for institutional buildings fell 34 per cent to $867 million; industrial construction intentions were down 15.6 per cent to $408 million; commercial building permit values totalled $1.5 billion in May, edging down 0.4 per cent from a month earlier.
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The total value of building permits plunged in May by 14.5 per cent, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada.