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July Construction Permit Issues Slow in Canada
September 6, 2007
Source: Statistics Canada
Construction intentions cooled down in July as the value of building permits declined, halting two months of record-setting performances. Municipalities issued building permits worth  ; $6.2  ; billion, down  ; 11.3% from  ; $6.9  ; billion in June.
Still, July was one of only a handful of months in which permits exceeded the $6-billion mark.
At  ; $6.9  ; billion in both May and June, the total value of permits was at its highest level on record.
Losses occurred in both the residential and non-residential sectors. The value of residential permits fell  ; 6.3% to  ; $3.8  ; billion, with declines in both the single-family and multiple-family components.
Contractors took out  ; $2.3  ; billion in permits in the non-residential sector, down  ; 18.6%. The value of institutional and commercial permits decreased, while industrial permits rose to their second-highest value in just over a year.
The value of permits increased in only three provinces: Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
Housing sector: Multi-family permits recede Intentions in both components of the housing sector eased down in July.
Municipalities issued  ; $2.4  ; billion worth of single-family permits, a  ; 3.1% decline from June. Still, it was the third-highest value on record. A total of  ; 9,553  ; single-family units were approved, a  ; 2.4% decline.
The value of multi-family permits tumbled  ; 11.1% to  ; $1.5  ; billion, the first decline in five months. Municipalities approved  ; 11,041  ; multi-family units, a  ; 5.8% decline. Even so, the demand for new multi-family dwellings has been on an upward trend since the beginning of the year.
The high price tag associated with the purchase of single-family dwellings has contributed to an increasing shift in housing demand towards multi-family units. So far this year,  ; 51.4% of the new units approved have been multi-family dwellings. The last time such a high proportion was observed for a whole year was in  ; 1982.
Strength in employment, growth in disposable income, tight apartment vacancy rates in several centres and attractive financing options continued to have a positive impact on housing demand.
Residential permits declined in four provinces. The significant drops in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario more than offset modest increases in permit values elsewhere.
The largest decline (in dollars) occurred in Alberta, where the value of permits fell  ; 15.3% to  ; $827  ; million, the result of decreases in both single- and multi-family permits. Despite the decline, Alberta's level was still  ; 8.0% above its average value of residential permits for the first six months of  ; 2007.
The drops in total residential permit values in British Columbia (-11.3% to  ; $718  ; million) and Ontario (-5.8% to  ; $1.2  ; billion) were mainly precipitated by falling levels of multi-family permits.
On the other hand, strength in the multi-family component led to increases in the total values of residential permits in Quebec (+4.2% to  ; $718  ; million) and Nova Scotia (+29.6% to  ; $75  ; million).
Ontario's decline in multi-family permits was largely the result of a decrease in the average value of such units approved.   ; Non-residential sector: Decline halts two strong months Contractors took out  ; $2.3  ; billion in non-residential permits in July, an  ; 18.6% decline. This followed two very strong months, as non-residential permits totalled  ; $3.1  ; billion in May and  ; $2.8  ; billion in June.