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Canadian Building Permits Down 2.6% in February

Canadian municipalities issued C$8.2 billion (US$6.5 billion) in building permits in February (-2.6 percent), following a 5.2 percent gain in January. Single-family homes as well as the commercial and institutional components saw lower levels of construction intentions in February.

The value of permits for single-family dwellings decreased 1.6 percent in February, largely due to Ontario where intentions fell 6.9 percent compared with January.

Nationally, the value of multi-family dwellings rose 1 percent. Six provinces posted increases in February, led by Alberta. The value of permits for multi-family dwellings in Alberta rose 46.9 percent, nearly offsetting the 19 percent decline in Quebec. Despite a 4.2 percent decline in the province of British Columbia, the value of multi-family dwelling permits in the CMA of Vancouver rose 4.2 percent to C$548.6 million (US$435.3 million). Construction intentions for multi-family dwellings in Vancouver remained strong, posting a value above C$500 million (US$396.7 million) for the third consecutive month.

Municipalities issued C$2.9 billion (US$2.3 billion) worth of building permits for non-residential structures in February, down 6.6 percent from January. The decline in the value of permits for the commercial and institutional components more than offset the increase in the industrial component.

The commercial component fell 8.7 percent to C$1.5 billion (US$1.2 billion) in February, following an 8.3 percent increase in January. Eight provinces posted declines. British Columbia reported the largest decrease, down 20.2 percent, following a strong January.

Following a 19.2 percent gain in January, the institutional component decreased 9.7 percent to C$754.3 million (US$598.5 million) in February, primarily stemming from lower construction intentions in Quebec, specifically in the CMA of Montréal. Leading up to this decline, multiple permits for educational structures pushed the January value for the CMA of Montréal to C$158.6 million (US$125.8 million), the highest value since August 2016.

The value of building permits issued for industrial structures increased 4.8 percent to C$575 million (US$456.2 million) in February, following a 19.5 percent decline in January. Quebec posted the largest increase, followed distantly by Newfoundland and Labrador.

The total value of building permits decreased in six provinces in February. The largest declines were in Quebec and Ontario, while Alberta reported the largest increase followed by Manitoba.

The value of building permits declined in Quebec in February following two monthly increases. Every component except the industrial component and single-family dwellings declined. The value of permits for multi-family dwellings posted the largest decline (-C$109.3 million, -US$86.7 million), stemming mainly from apartment building intentions for the CMA of Montréal.

The value of building permits declined 3.2 percent in Ontario to C$3.3 billion in February. Every component was down except the industrial component and multi-family dwellings. The value of permits for single-family dwellings posted the largest decline (-C$84.2 million, US$66.8 million, or -6.9 percent).

Alberta reported an increase in every building component in February except for commercial and industrial structures. The residential sector rose by 20.5 percent to C$838.9 million (US$665.6 million) in February, primarily a result of higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings.

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