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Canadian Building Permits Decline in November

The value of building permits in Canada decreased 11.2 percent to $5.5 billion in November, the second consecutive monthly decline, according to Statistics Canada. Lower construction intentions, particularly for multi-family dwellings in British Columbia and commercial buildings in Ontario, were behind the decline.

Following two consecutive monthly gains, permits in the nonresidential sector fell 16.1 percent to $2.3 billion in November. The decline came mainly from lower construction intentions in the commercial and institutional components.

The value of residential permits fell 7.2 percent to $3.2 billion, also the second monthly decline in a row. Most of the decrease came from British Columbia, where municipalities reported drops in both single- and multi-family dwellings following three consecutive monthly gains in the residential sector.

The total value of permits decreased in seven provinces, led by British Columbia, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador. Quebec experienced the largest increase.

In the commercial component, the value of permits fell 23.4 percent to $1.3 billion in November, after two consecutive monthly increases. The lower construction intentions came mostly from laboratories in Ontario, which had posted a large gain in October. A decrease in construction intentions for recreational buildings in many provinces also contributed to the decline.

The value of permits in the institutional component declined for a second consecutive month, falling 7.8 percent to $647 million in November. The decline was largely a result of lower construction intentions for educational institutions in all provinces except New Brunswick.

In the industrial component, the value of permits edged down 0.9 percent to $406 million in November. Decreases were widespread among many types of buildings and among most provinces. These decreases were almost offset by combined gains in transportation buildings in Ontario and utilities' buildings in Alberta.

The value of building permits for multi-family dwellings fell 22.4 percent to $1.1 billion in November, its lowest level since February 2010.

The decrease occurred mainly in British Columbia, where there was a substantial decline in the value of multi-family permits from October, which was their highest level since May 2007. Alberta, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island also registered decreases.

Intentions for single-family dwellings increased 3.4 percent to $2.1 billion, following a 9.3 percent decrease in October. Gains were posted in six provinces, led by Quebec. In contrast, British Columbia reported the largest drop in the value of single-family permits, continuing a downward trend since the beginning of 2010.

Nationally, municipalities approved 14,136 new dwellings in November, down 13.4 percent from October. The decline came from multi-family dwellings, which fell 24.1 percent to 7,428 units, while single-family dwellings rose 2.6 percent to 6,708 units.

By Province
The value of building permits was down in seven provinces in November, with the largest declines occurring in British Columbia where the value of permits fell 43.4 percent.

Quebec posted the largest gain, with an increase in every component except industrial buildings.

The total value of permits fell in 19 out of the 34 census metropolitan areas.

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