The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Canadian Building Permits Up 1% in April

Residential building permits up 2 percent, non-residential down 0.4 percent.

Following two consecutive monthly declines, the total value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities rose 1.1 percent to $6 billion in April. This increase resulted from higher construction intentions in the residential sector, which more than offset the decline in the non-residential sector.

The value of residential building permits rose 2 percent to $3.7 billion in April, a second consecutive monthly gain. Ontario, Alberta and Nova Scotia were responsible for most of the advance. Three provinces posted declines, led by British Columbia.

Contractors took out non-residential building permits worth $2.3 billion in April, down 0.4 percent from the previous month. Gains in five provinces, led by Quebec, were not enough to offset the declines in the other provinces. British Columbia posted the largest decrease.

Residential
The value of building permits for single-family dwellings rose 2.8 percent to $2.1 billion in April. The gain came in the wake of two consecutive monthly decreases. The increase in Ontario more than offset the declines in five provinces. Alberta posted the largest decrease.

Canadian municipalities issued $1.6 billion worth of building permits for multi-family dwellings in April, up 1.1 percent from March. This increase was largely the result of higher construction intentions in seven provinces. Alberta posted the largest gain, followed by Nova Scotia and Manitoba.

At the national level, Canadian municipalities approved the construction of 15,416 new dwellings, down 3.2 percent from the previous month. The decline was attributable to a 6 percent decrease in the number of multi-family dwellings to 9,641 units. Conversely, the number of single-family dwellings increased 2 percent to 5,775 units.

Non-residential
The value of permits in the commercial component fell 14.8 percent to $1.3 billion in April, the lowest level since March 2013. The decline followed a 0.3 percent gain the previous month. The value of permits was down in seven provinces, led by Ontario. Lower construction intentions for retail complexes, recreational facilities, warehouses and hotels and restaurants were responsible for the decline at the national level.

The value of building permits in the institutional component rose 37.2 percent to $664 million in April, after falling 28.9 percent the previous month. The April advance was the result of higher construction intentions for government buildings, senior citizen residences and health care facilities. All provinces posted gains except British Columbia and Prince Edward Island.

Construction intentions in the industrial component rose 10.5 percent to $345 million in April, following a 12.3 percent decline in March. This increase was the result of higher construction intentions for manufacturing plants and utilities buildings. The advance observed in four provinces, led by Ontario, more than offset the decline in the other six provinces.

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