The value of building permits in Alberta dipped by nine per cent compared with a year ago, but it was a bigger drop in the non-residential sector that dragged down the total, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada.

Non-residential permits plummeted in value from July 2016 to this July, from $531 million to $373 million — a 29.6 per cent drop.

The value of residential permits, on the other hand, rose 9.3 per cent, from $598 million in July 2016 to $653 million this July.

When residential and non-residential permits are tallied together, their value dipped nine per cent compared with a year ago.

The total value of building permits in Alberta also declined for the second month in a row, from $1.1 billion last July to $1 billion in July of this year, according to Statistics Canada.

Construction activity expected to soften

"The most recent building permit report confirms that construction activity in Alberta will be softer in the coming years," said ATB Financial in a release.

"All categories except institutional and governmental buildings registered declines in July."

Construction permit values for commercial buildings fell the most, by 13.4 per cent.

In Calgary, the overall value of building permits dropped by 18.8 per cent from $408 million in July 2016 to $331 million this July.

Edmonton's market remained steadier, dipping 2.7 per cent overall from $403 million last July to $392 million this July.

"In July, residential permits grew four per cent and institutional and governmental buildings saw nearly a five-fold increase in Alberta's capital city," ATB Financial said.

Nationally, Canadian municipalities issued $7.9 billion worth of building permits in July, a  3.5 per cent drop from June and the first decrease since March 2017, Statistics Canada said.

A drop in permits for commercial buildings and multi-family projects were the biggest factors behind the national decline.