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Canadian contractors took out $4.3 billion in building permits in April, down 5.4% from March. A 14.4% decline in non-residential permits in April more than offset a 4.1% increase in the value of residential permits.
In the non-residential sector, the value of permits fell 14.4% to $2.0 billion. The decrease was largely a result of lower commercial construction intentions in Ontario and lower institutional construction intentions in British Columbia.
In the residential sector, the value of permits rose 4.1% to $2.3 billion. This was attributable to increases in single-family permits in eight provinces. The total value of intentions was down in four provinces: Ontario, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Quebec.
In the commercial component, the value of permits fell 22.1% to $1.1 billion. The decline comes in the wake of a 45.8% increase in March. The April downturn was primarily a result of lower construction intentions for office buildings in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. Permits in the institutional component fell 16.2% to $619 million. The decline was a result of lower construction intentions for medical buildings in British Columbia and Quebec.
The value of industrial permits remained volatile, climbing 41.6% to $310 million in April, with increases posted in eight provinces.
The value of single-family permits was up in April for a second month, increasing 11.4% to $1.6 billion. Alberta and Ontario were responsible for the growth in single-family intentions in March and April.
Municipalities issued $758 million worth of permits for multi-family dwellings in April, down 8.2% from March. The decline followed increases in March and February. Alberta, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador contributed to the April decline in multi-family permits.
Municipalities approved 10,663 new dwellings in April, down 5.8% from March. This was mainly a result of a 14.9% decrease in multi-family units to 5,612. The number of single-family dwellings approved rose 7.0% to 5,051 units.
The value of building permits fell in four provinces in April. The most significant declines occurred in Ontario (-15.7% to $1.5 billion) and British Columbia (-36.5% to $380 million). In Ontario, the strong decline in the commercial component more than offset the increases in the other components. The decrease in British Columbia was due to declines for all three non-residential components.
Nova Scotia, Alberta, New Brunswick and Manitoba posted the largest gains. All of these provinces except Alberta posted advances in both residential- and non-residential permits.
By Metro Area
The total value of permits was down in 20 of the 34 census metropolitan areas. Permit values dropped 22.3% in Toronto, as lower construction intentions in the commercial component more than offset increases in the institutional component and multi-family permits.
In Victoria, permit values fell 82.4% in April after tripling in February. Hamilton posted a 71.4% drop, due to declines in all three non-residential components. In contrast, Calgary posted its third monthly increase, attributable to higher construction intentions for single- and multi-family dwellings.
Source: Statistics Canada