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Building Permits in Canada up 9.9% in February

Municipalities in Canada issued building permits worth $5.8 billion in February, up 9.9 percent from January, according to the latest release from Statistics Canada. The February advance was a result of gains in the nonresidential sector in Alberta and Ontario, which more than offset the decline in the residential sector.

In the nonresidential sector, the value of permits totaled $2.8 billion in February, up 72.9 percent compared with January. Alberta and Ontario accounted for much of the growth at the national level. In February, five other provinces also posted gains in the non-residential sector.

In contrast, the value of residential permits fell 18.3 percent to $3.0 billion in February. The decrease was attributable to both multi-family and single-family dwellings. Ontario and Quebec registered the largest declines.

Nonresidential Sector
Industrial construction intentions increased to a record $884.4 million in February. The gain occurred as a result of higher construction intentions for transportation-related buildings in Alberta and manufacturing plants in Ontario.

In the institutional component, the value of permits issued by municipalities doubled to $702 million, following four consecutive monthly declines. The increase in February came from seven provinces, led by Ontario. The gain in Ontario was attributable to higher construction intentions for government administrative buildings.

In the commercial component, the value of permits rose 22.6 percent to $1.2 billion. The gain in February followed three consecutive monthly declines. In February, seven provinces contributed to the increase, through various types of buildings, including hotels, retail stores and warehouses.

Residential Sector
Construction intentions for multi-family dwellings fell 34.4 percent to $892 million in February. This was the first time in a year that the value of multi-family permits fell below the billion-dollar mark. The decline was attributable to decreases in five provinces, particularly Ontario and Quebec.

The value of building permits for single-family dwellings fell 8.6 percent to $2.1 billion, following three consecutive monthly gains. The February decrease was a result of declines in six provinces, led by Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

At the national level, municipalities approved the construction of 13,488 new dwellings in February, down 24.6 percent. The decrease was largely attributable to multi-family dwellings, which fell 36.6 percent to 6,690 units. Single-family dwellings declined 7.3 percent to 6,798 units.

By Province
In February, the value of building permits was up in five provinces, led by Alberta. British Columbia, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island also recorded increases in February, as a result of higher values of building permits in the non-residential sector.

The largest decreases occurred in Quebec and Ontario. The decline was attributable to permits for both multi-family and single-family dwellings.

The total value of permits was up in 23 of the 34 census metropolitan areas in Canada. The largest declines were in Montréal, Toronto, Regina and Ottawa.

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