The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Canadian Building Permits Up 0.7% in October

Month-to-month increase primarily driven by higher construction intentions.

Canadian municipalities issued building permits worth C$7.5 billion (US$6.5 billion) in October, up 0.7 percent from September. The increase in October resulted primarily from higher construction intentions in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The value of nonresidential building permits rose 2.4 percent to C$3.1 billion (US$2.7 billion) in October. Gains were posted in five provinces, led by British Columbia, followed by Quebec, a distant second. Yukon also posted a noticeable increase in October. Ontario registered the largest decrease, following a notable increase in September.

In the residential sector, the value of permits edged down 0.4 percent to C$4.5 billion (US$4 billion) in October, following a 7.4 percent increase in September. Residential construction intentions fell in five provinces, with Quebec and Ontario accounting for most of the decline at the national level. Alberta and Nova Scotia posted the largest increases.

Nonresidential sector
In October, construction intentions in the industrial component rose 34.4 percent to $614 million (US$535.6 billion), following a 4.4 percent increase in September. This increase was the result of higher construction intentions for utilities buildings and manufacturing plants. The advance was observed in five provinces, led by Ontario, followed by Saskatchewan. Manitoba registered the largest decrease.

In the institutional component, the value of building permits was up 6.2 percent to $909 million (US$792.3 billion) in October, following an 88.2 percent increase a month earlier. The October advance was the result of higher construction intentions for medical facilities in British Columbia as well as nursing homes and retirement residences in several provinces. Intentions rose in four provinces, led by British Columbia. Ontario recorded the largest decrease, following a notable increase in the previous month.

In the commercial component, the value of permits fell 8.1 percent to C$1.5 billion (US$1.3 billion) in October, following a 6.2 percent advance in September. This was the lowest level since April of this year. The decline came from lower construction intentions in a variety of commercial buildings at the national level, including office buildings, recreational facilities, retail and wholesale outlets, retail complexes and service stations. Decreases were posted in four provinces, with Ontario posting the largest decline. British Columbia posted the biggest gain.

Residential sector

In October Canadian municipalities issued $2 billion (US$1.7 billion) worth of building permits for multi-family dwellings, 0.9 percent less than in September. This decrease was largely the result of lower construction intentions in six provinces, with Quebec registering the largest decline. Nova Scotia posted the largest gain, followed by Alberta and Saskatchewan.

In October, the value of building permits for single-family dwellings was $2.4 billion (US$2.1 billion), the same level as in September. Gains were posted in six provinces, led by Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia, while Ontario registered the largest decrease.

At the national level, Canadian municipalities approved the construction of 18,354 new dwellings in October, down 0.6 percent from the previous month. The decline was attributable to a 0.9 percent decrease in the number of multi-family dwellings to 11,948 units and a 0.2 percent decline in the number of single-family dwellings to 6,406 units.

By geography

The total value of permits was up in four provinces in October. British Columbia had the largest gains, primarily attributable to higher construction intentions for institutional and commercial buildings.

In Alberta, all components, except institutional buildings, were responsible for the increase, while in Saskatchewan, the advance was the result of higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings and industrial buildings.

After posting a 38.0 percent gain in September, Ontario posted the largest decline in October, due primarily to lower construction intentions for commercial and institutional buildings, following large increases in both components a month earlier. Manitoba was a distant second, with a decrease in construction intentions for non-residential buildings.

In October, the total value of permits was up in 19 of Canada's 34 census metropolitan areas. The largest increase was in Vancouver, followed by Edmonton and Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo. The gain in Vancouver was largely attributable to higher construction intentions for institutional and commercial buildings. In Edmonton, commercial buildings contributed the most to the increase, while in Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo, the advance came from multi-family dwellings.

Toronto had the largest decline, followed by Ottawa and Québec. The value of building permits issued in Toronto decreased as a result of lower construction intentions for commercial and institutional buildings. The decline in Ottawa was primarily the result of lower construction intentions for both multi-family and single-family dwellings, which had posted sharp gains the previous month. In Québec, the decrease came from multi-family dwellings and non-residential buildings.

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