(Bloomberg) -- Canadian building permits rose 20.5 per cent in April compared with the month before, more than four times the expectation of economists in a Bloomberg survey.

That’s the fastest monthly pace since May 2020. Excluding the pandemic, it marked the quickest gain since March 2009. While the monthly data tends to be volatile, April’s significant jump provides a glimmer of hope that construction will rise in a country mired in a severe housing shortage.

Residential permits jumped 19.6 per cent on the month, driven by a 32.6 per cent gain in multi-family permits, Statistics Canada reported Tuesday. Single-family permits rose just 2.4 per cent.

On an annual basis, total building permits were up 27.9 per cent in April.

Non-residential permits rose 19.6% on the month. All three subsectors saw significant gains, with industrial up 17.4 per cent, commercial up 21.3 per cent and institutional up 17.7 per cent.

Total building permits in British Columbia hit an all-time high of C$3.1 billion ($2.3 billion) following an 81.1 per cent monthly gain. In Vancouver, permits rose 139.7 per cent.

Permits in Toronto rose 34.3 per cent, while those in Montreal gained 13.4 per cent.