The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Canadian Building Permits Down 3.5% in July

Seven provinces registered declines in the total value of building permits in July.

Canadian municipalities issued C$7.9 billion (US$6.5 billion) worth of building permits in July, down 3.5 percent from June and the first decrease since March 2017, according to Statistics Canada. Lower construction intentions for commercial buildings and multi-family dwellings were mainly responsible for the national decline. Seven provinces posted decreases, with the largest decline in Ontario.

The total value of permits was down in seven provinces in July, led by lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings and commercial buildings in Ontario.

The value of buildings permits fell 3.7 percent to C$3.3 billion (US$2.7 billion) in Ontario, the first decline since April 2017. The decrease was mainly attributable to lower construction intentions in the residential sector, specifically multi-family dwellings, which fell 20.5 percent to C$849.7 million (US$699.6 million) in July. The decline in the value of multi-family dwelling permits followed three consecutive monthly increases. In contrast, the value of permits for single-family dwellings rose 7.9 percent to C$1.1 billion (US$0.9 billion) in Ontario. Overall, the value of residential permits was up 4.2 percent compared with the same month in 2016.

The value of multi-family dwellings in British Columbia rose 14.2 percent from June to C$771.8 million (US$635.5 million) in July, the highest value on record. The increase was mainly attributable to higher construction intentions for apartments in the census metropolitan area of Vancouver. Municipalities in this CMA issued C$562.2 million (US$462.9 million) in permits for multi-family dwellings, up 17.4 percent from June and the highest value on record.

The CMA of Toronto posted the largest decrease, as the total value of building permits fell 16.2 percent in July to C$1.5 billion (US$1.2 billion). The decline followed two consecutive monthly increases and was mainly attributable to lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings.

Canadian municipalities issued C$5 billion (US$4.1 billion) worth of residential building permits in July, down 2.2 percent from June and the first decline since April 2017. Lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings more than offset a moderate gain in the single-family component. The residential sector was down in six provinces in July, with Ontario posting the largest drop.

Construction intentions for multi-family dwellings fell 7.4 percent in July to C$2.5 billion (US$2.1 billion), the first decline since March 2017. The value of multi-family dwelling permits was down in eight provinces in July on lower construction intentions for row houses in Ontario, specifically the Toronto CMA.

Conversely, single-family dwelling construction intentions rose 3.6 percent in July to C$2.5 billion (US$2.1 billion), largely attributable to gains in five provinces, led by Ontario. The increase followed an 11.7 percent drop in June.

In July, Canadian municipalities approved the construction of 13,830 multi-family units (down 4.2 percent from June) and 5,754 single units (up 4.6 percent from June).

The value of building permits issued for non-residential structures fell 5.7 percent in July to C$2.9 billion (US$2.4 billion), the first decrease since February 2017. The decline was largely attributable to lower construction intentions for commercial buildings.

The commercial component fell 14.7 percent in July to C$1.5 billion (US$1.2 billion), following two consecutive monthly increases (+15.6 percent in May and +13.7 percent in June). The decline was mainly attributable to lower construction intentions for office buildings. Every province except for Newfoundland and Labrador posted declines in the value of commercial building permits.

The value of building permits issued for industrial structures fell 4 percent to C$558 million (US$484.1 million) in July, following a 7.8 percent gain in June. The decline primarily stemmed from lower construction intentions for maintenance buildings and transportation terminals.

In contrast, the value of permits for institutional structures rose 11.9 percent, to C$903.4 million (US$743.8 million), the second consecutive monthly increase and the highest value since October 2015. The gain was mainly due to higher construction intentions for hospitals.

 

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