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Building Permits Issued in Canada Fall in October

Canadian municipalities issued building permits worth $6.2 billion in October, down 6.5 percent from September, when permits were up 14.9 percent, according to Statistics Canada. The October value of permits remains comparable to levels prior to the economic downturn. A decline in both the residential and non-residential sectors in Ontario and Quebec led the October decrease.

In the residential sector, the value of permits fell 11.2 percent from September to $3.4 billion in October, following two consecutive monthly gains. The decrease was due to declines in both single- and multi-family permits issued in Ontario and Quebec.

The value of permits in the non-residential sector remained at $2.7 billion. Higher commercial and industrial construction intentions offset a decline in the value of building permits for institutional projects.

The total value of permits decreased in half of the provinces, led by Ontario and Quebec. Newfoundland and Labrador had the largest increase.

Residential Sector
The value of building permits for single-family units fell 9.4 percent from September to $2.0 billion in October. This was the sixth decrease in seven months. The October decline was attributable to decreases in seven provinces, led by Ontario and Quebec.

Municipalities issued $1.4 billion worth of building permits for multi-family dwellings in October, down 13.6 percent from September. The decline came in the wake of two consecutive monthly gains. As in the case of single-family permits, Ontario and Quebec posted the largest decreases.

Municipalities approved the construction of 16,218 new dwellings in October, down 6.6 percent from September. The decrease was caused by both single-family dwellings, which fell 8.5 percent to 6,524 units, and multi-family dwellings, which declined 5.4 percent to 9,694 units.

Non-Residential Sector
The value of commercial building permits totalled $1.7 billion in October, up 8.8 percent from September. This was the highest level since May 2008, following a substantial 38.4 percent increase in September 2010. Higher construction intentions for a wide variety of buildings, including laboratories, warehouses and retail stores, offset lower demand for office building permits in Ontario and Quebec.

Following four months of declines, industrial construction intentions rose 12.2 percent to $408 million. The increase was mainly attributable to manufacturing plants in Ontario and primary sector buildings in Quebec. Construction intentions for industrial buildings were up in eight provinces.

The value of institutional building permits fell 20.4 percent to $685 million, following a 23.7 percent increase in September. The decline was due primarily to construction intentions for educational institutions, medical facilities and religious buildings in Ontario.

By Province
The value of building permits was down in five provinces in October. The largest declines were in Ontario and Quebec. Both provinces experienced large decreases in both the residential and non-residential sectors. New Brunswick, Alberta and Prince Edward Island also registered declines.

In contrast, Newfoundland and Labrador, British Columbia and Saskatchewan posted the largest gains. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the value of all permit types was up, led by institutional building permits. In British Columbia, the increase was mainly due to multi-family and non-residential permits. In Saskatchewan, the increase was widespread except for permits for multi-family dwellings.

By Metro Area
The total value of permits declined in half of Canada's census metropolitan areas. Toronto had the largest decrease as a result of declines in the residential sector. Gatineau, Guelph and Hamilton followed with declines in both sectors.

The biggest gains were in Vancouver and St. John's. In Vancouver, the increase was mainly attributable to institutional and multi-family permits. The advance in St. John's was due to institutional permits.

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