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File photo of construction workers building new homes in Calgary.TODD KOROL/Reuters

Canadian building permits plunged from a record in August, led by lower intentions for medical buildings in Quebec and multiple-unit housing in Ontario.

The value of municipal permits fell 27.3 per cent to C$6.65-billion ($5.95-billion) from July's record C$9.15-billion, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. The decline exceeded all 10 predictions in a Bloomberg economist survey that had a median estimate of a 6.5 per cent decrease.

The world's 11th largest economy has shown unexpected signs of faltering in the last week, including reports of stalled output growth in July and a trade deficit in August. The Bank of Canada kept its policy interest rate at 1 per cent last month, where it's been for more than four years, citing the need for stronger growth to eliminate slack in the economy.

Non-residential construction permits dropped by 40.6 per cent to C$2.50-billion, falling from July's record when the total was lifted by buildings such as hospitals in Quebec.

Residential work dropped by 15.9 per cent to C$4.15-billion. Permits for multi-family dwellings fell by 28.6 per cent to C$1.81-billion following July's gain of 42.8 per cent, Statistics Canada said. Single-family permits fell for a second month, by 2.4 per cent to C$2.34-billion.

The percentage decline for August was the biggest in records dating back to 2000. The value of permits for August remained 2.4 per cent greater than in August 2013.