RTTNews - Canadian building permits continued a downward trend in April, according to data released Thursday by Statistics Canada. Residential permits edged higher, but a big drop in non-residential permits caused overall building permits to drop for the six month in seven.

Contractors took out $4.3 billion in building permits in April, down 5.4% from March. A 14.4% decline in non-residential permits in April more than offset a 4.1% increase in the value of residential permits.

In the non-residential sector, the value of permits fell 14.4% to $2.0 billion. The decrease was largely a result of lower commercial construction intentions in Ontario and lower institutional construction intentions in British Columbia.

In the residential sector, the value of permits rose 4.1% to $2.3 billion. This second straight monthly rise was attributable to increases in single-family permits in eight provinces.

The total value of intentions was down in four provinces: Ontario, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Quebec.

In the commercial component, the value of permits fell 22.1% to $1.1 billion. The decline comes in the wake of a 45.8% increase in March. The April downturn was primarily a result of lower construction intentions for office buildings in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

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