The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Canadian Building Permits Down 11.6% in February

Decrease driven by lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings.

Canadian municipalities issued building permits worth $6.1 billion in February, down 11.6 percent from January, according to Statistics Canada. The decrease in February was due primarily to lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings in all provinces.

In the residential sector, construction intentions declined 21 percent to $3.6 billion. This was the third decline in four months.

In the non-residential sector, the value of permits rose 6.6 percent to $2.5 billion in February, following a 15.4 percent decrease in January. Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec were responsible for most of the growth at the national level, while declines were recorded in Alberta, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.

The value of building permits for multi-family dwellings decreased 31.5 percent to $1.5 billion in February, the third decline in four months. Declines were reported in all provinces, with Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta posting the largest decreases.

Construction intentions for single-family dwellings fell 12 percent to $2.2 billion in February, following a 14 percent increase in January. Construction intentions fell in six provinces, with Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia accounting for most of the decline at the national level.

Canadian municipalities approved the construction of 14,011 new dwellings in February, down 23.8 percent from January. The decrease in February was the result of a 29.3 percent decline in multi-family dwellings to 8,289 units and a 14.3 percent decline in single-family dwellings to 5,722 units.

Canadian municipalities issued $673 million worth of institutional building permits in February, up 14.9 percent from January. Gains in four provinces, led by Ontario, more than offset declines in the remaining provinces. The increase in Ontario came mainly from medical facilities. Alberta registered the largest decrease as a result of lower construction intentions for medical facilities, educational institutions and government buildings.

In the industrial component, the value of permits rose 26.8 percent to $348 million in February, following a 44.5 percent decrease in the previous month. This increase was the result of higher construction intentions for mining and primary industry buildings in Quebec, as well as manufacturing plants in Alberta and Quebec. Newfoundland and Labrador and British Columbia posted the largest decreases.

Following a 14.5 percent advance in January, Canadian municipalities issued $1.5 billion worth of commercial building permits in February, down 0.3 percent from the previous month. The decrease came from a variety of commercial buildings, including hotels and restaurants as well as service stations. Declines in four provinces, led by Ontario and Manitoba, offset increases in the other provinces. British Columbia recorded the largest gain, followed by New Brunswick and Saskatchewan.

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