Canadian municipalities issued C$7.9 billion (US$6.2 billion) worth of building permits in September, up 3.8 percent from August, according to Statistics Canada. Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario recorded the largest declines. A 1.7 percent decrease in the residential sector was more than offset by a 13.9 percent increase in the non-residential sector. A high-value institutional building permit issued in Alberta was behind much of the increase.
Municipalities issued C$23.4 billion (US$18.4 billion) in building permits in the third quarter, up 1 percent from the previous quarter. However, this advance was slightly below the average quarter-to-quarter growth of 1.6 percent since the start of 2016. The advance was slightly below the average quarter-to-quarter growth of 1.6 percent since the start of 2016.
The institutional component refers to buildings used to house public and semi-public services such as those related to health and welfare, education, or public administration, as well as buildings used for religious services. In September, a permit for a hospital was the main contributor to the 30 percent increase in the value of institutional building permits.
The value of residential building permits edged down C$82.7 million (US$64.9 million) (-1.7 percent) to C$4.8 billion (US$3.8 billion) in September, the third consecutive monthly decline. Ontario posted the largest decrease, mainly due to lower construction intentions for apartments.
In British Columbia, the total value of residential permits increased 15.6 percent to C$1 billion (US$0.8 billion), marking the third month this year that the provincial value has hit the C$1-billion (US$0.8 billion) mark. Construction intentions for apartment buildings in the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Vancouver drove the increase.
The value of institutional building permits reached C$2.7 billion (US$2.1 billion) in the quarter, with a significant portion coming from high-value permits for hospital buildings in Alberta and Ontario.
The multi-family component totaled C$7.2 billion (US$5.7 billion) this quarter, up 1.7 percent from the last quarter and the third time in four quarters that the value has exceed C$7 billion (US$5.5 billion). British Columbia, Quebec and Nova Scotia all posted record highs for the multi-family component in the quarter. At the CMA level, multi-family permits in Montréal passed the C$1 billion (US$0.8 billion)-mark for the first time on record, while the CMA of Halifax accounted for over 60 percent of the total value of multi-family dwelling permits in the Atlantic provinces.
Nationally, the commercial component decreased 3.3 percent to C$4.3 billion (US$3.4 billion) in the third quarter. However, in the province of Quebec, the value of the commercial component rose to C$943.7 million (US$740.6 million), the highest value since the second quarter of 2011. This increase contributed to the province's overall rise of 7.1 percent, to a record high of C$4.4 billion (US$3.5 billion).
For single-family dwellings, results were split between the east and west. In the third quarter of 2017, the value of single-family dwelling permits increased throughout the Atlantic provinces and Quebec. On the other hand, Ontario, the Prairie provinces and British Columbia all reported declines in the value of single-family dwellings.