The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Canadian Building Permits Up 11.1% in December

Growth in permit primarily driven by increases in multi-family dwelling in Ontario and commercial buildings in Alberta.

Canadian municipalities issued building permits worth $6.8 billion in December, up 11.1 percent from November, according to Statistics Canada. This is the highest level since June 2007. The advance in December was due primarily to an increase in multi-family dwellings in Ontario and commercial buildings in Alberta.

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In the residential sector, the value of permits rose 16.1 percent to $4.5 billion. It was the second consecutive monthly increase. Ontario accounted for much of the growth recorded at the national level.

In the non-residential sector, the value of permits grew 2.8 percent to $2.4 billion in December, following a 15.1 percent decline in November. Alberta posted a large increase, which more than offset declines in most provinces.

The total value of building permits was up in five provinces, led by Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. British Columbia had the largest decrease.

Residential
Construction intentions for multi-family dwellings rose 28.9 percent to $1.9 billion. It was the second consecutive monthly increase and the highest level recorded since December 2005. The growth was due to major condominium and apartment building projects initiated in Ontario.

Municipalities issued $2.6 billion worth of building permits for single-family dwellings in December, 8.1 percent more than in November. The increase was attributable to higher construction intentions in six provinces, led by Quebec and Alberta.

Nationally, municipalities approved the construction of 19,015 new dwellings in December, up 13.0 percent from November. The increase was largely due to multi-family dwellings, which rose 19.1 percent to 11,560 units. The number of single-family dwellings rose 4.7 percent to 7,455 units.

Non-residential
In the commercial component, municipalities issued permits worth $1.6 billion in December, a 41.0 percent increase following two monthly declines. The increase is largely attributable to higher construction intentions for office buildings and warehouse facilities in Alberta, as well as hotels in Ontario.

The value of industrial building permits declined 24.2 percent to $353 million in December. It was the second consecutive monthly decrease. The decline was mostly due to lower construction intentions in all provinces except Quebec. The largest decreases were in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia. These provinces posted lower construction intentions in a wide range of industrial buildings, including transportation-related buildings and manufacturing plants. Quebec’s advance was due to manufacturing plants.

In the institutional component, the value of building permits declined 42.2 percent to $402 million, down for a second consecutive month after peaking at more than $1 billion in October 2011. Institutional construction intentions decreased in six provinces. The largest declines were in construction intentions for educational institutions in Ontario, health care facilities in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and government buildings in British Columbia.

By province
The value of building permits was up in five provinces.

Ontario’s increase was mainly attributable to permits for multi-family dwellings and hotels. In Alberta, permits for office buildings and warehouses rose. In Quebec, the increase was due to the value of building permits for single-family dwellings and manufacturing plants. In Nova Scotia, the growth was attributable to an increase in commercial buildings. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the growth resulted from higher construction intentions for single-family dwellings.

The largest declines were in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. All three provinces posted decreases in both residential and non-residential sectors.

By metropolitan area
The total value of permits was up in 17 of Canada’s 34 census metropolitan areas.

Toronto had the largest increase, followed by Calgary. Toronto’s increase was mostly attributable to building permits for multi-family dwellings. In Calgary, the advance was largely due to construction intentions for commercial buildings and single-family dwellings.

The largest declines were in Ottawa and Vancouver. In Ottawa, the decrease was due to the residential and non-residential sectors, as both had posted advances in November. Vancouver’s decline was mainly attributable to a decrease in the value of permits for multi-family dwellings and institutional buildings, which had recorded large increases in November.

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