OTTAWA - The value of Canadian building permits in December dropped 6.6 per cent from November, the biggest slide in almost a year, on weakness in both the residential and non-residential sectors, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had predicted a 4.0 per cent fall. December's decline was the largest since the 9.5 per cent retreat posted in January 2016.

The value of permits in the non-residential sector fell 11.5 per cent on lower construction intentions for commercial buildings, in particular retail and wholesale outlets as well as warehouses.

Decreases in the non-residential sector were reported in seven of the 10 provinces. Ontario, Alberta and Quebec, which together account for well over half of Canada's population, posted the largest declines.

The residential sector dropped 4.1 per cent as municipalities issued fewer permits for multi-family dwellings, due to lower construction intentions for rental apartments and row houses. The decrease was partly offset by a notable gain in apartment-condominiums in Ontario.