Building permits down in August


In August, Canadian municipalities issued building permits for $8.1 billion worth of construction – a 0.4 per cent increase from July.

The increase is because of strength in the non-residential sector, while the residential sector declined for the third consecutive month.

In the non-residential sector, permits for $3.2 billion worth of construction were issued – an 8.8 per cent increase from the previous month. Institutional and commercial components contributed to the gain, largely the result of permits issued for a new hospital in Ontario and new office buildings in B.C.

Residential permits were down 4.4 per cent from July with only $5 billion worth issued. Five of the six provinces that posted decreases had lower intentions for both single and multi-family construction.

The value of permits for single-family dwellings was down 5.2 per cent to $2.2 billion. Multi-family dwellings have represented over 70 per cent of the total units for six of eight months so far this year.

Only three provinces recorded gains in August, led by a record high in B.C. The largest decline occurred in Ontario, due to lower construction intentions in the residential sector. The value of permits in B.C. was 12.8 per cent above the previous record which was set in March 2018. In the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Vancouver, the value of permits rose 66.4 per cent to $1.4 billion in August. Most came from the City of Vancouver, but the city of Burnaby issued over $250 million worth of permits for apartment buildings, bringing the total to over $800 million for the year.

In Ontario, all components declined in August, except institutional buildings. At the CMA level, the value of residential permits in Ottawa fell 60.9 per cent, following a 59.9 per cent gain in July. This was due to the implementation of higher development fees in the city, as developers applied for permits ahead of the August fee increase.


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