Bldg. permits slump to '12 low The value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities dropped to $6.2 billion in November, an 18% decline from the previous month's level and the lowest level of calendar 2012. Statistics Canada said Thursday said Ontario was responsible for much of the drop, with declines in the residential and non-residential sector. Building permits are seen as a leading indicator of the economy because signal intentions to invest and build for the future, which people generally only undertake if they are feeling optimistic about the future. Construction intentions in the latter fell 30.6% to $2.4 billion, while in the former, they declined 6.8% to $3.8 billion. Despite the November drop, building permits for the first 11 months of 2011 came in 11% higher than they were the previous year. And with a total value of $74.5 billion, they are now worth more than what was seen in 2007, the last year before the most recent recession. Construction intentions fell in seven provinces in November. Ontario posted the largest decline, followed by Quebec and Saskatchewan. The value of building permits fell in 19 of 34 Canadian cities that the data agency tracks. Toronto, Hamilton and Québec City led the declines, while the largest increases occurred in Winnipeg, Vancouver and Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo.