RTTNews - Canadian building permits soared nearly 15% in May, smashing expectations for a very modest increase following a big drop in the previous month.

According to data released by Statistics Canada Tuesday morning, building permits in May surpassed the $5.0-billion mark for the first time since October 2008.

Construction intentions were up 14.8% from April, as a result of gains in both residential components and two of the three non-residential components.

Economists expected an increase of 0.7%, compared with an upwardly revised 4.47% drop the previous month.

Provincially, the main contributing factors were increases in multi-family dwelling permits in Ontario and institutional permits in Alberta and Ontario.

In the residential sector, the value of permits has increased for three consecutive months. Residential intentions rose 14.4% to $2.6 billion, with Ontario accounting for most of the increase at the national level.

In the non-residential sector, the value of permits increased 15.3% to $2.4 billion following a 12.9% decrease in April. The gain was mainly a result of increases in the institutional component in Alberta and Ontario.

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