Driven by Ontario, building permits rise in September



Total value of building permits. (StatsCan)

Ottawa, ON — The total value of building permits issued in September rose 17 per cent to $9.4 billion, according to Statistics Canada, which also reported that with COVID-19 cases rising in many regions, some municipalities reported that builders have begun to submit applications earlier as a precaution against potential shutdowns.

The total value of residential permits issued in September, including single family and multi-family dwellings, increased 6.9 per cent to $6.0 billion, with over three-quarters of this growth came from permits issued in Ontario.

The value of permits issued for single family homes rose 8.9 per cent to $2.8 billion in September, led by Ontario (+18.0 per cent). This was the fifth consecutive monthly gain reported in the province, outweighing the declines posted in six other provinces.

Five provinces reported an increase in the value of permits issued for multi-family dwellings, lifting the national total by 5.2 per cent to $3.3 billion. British Columbia (+49.1 per cent), after two months of decline, led the nation in growth in this component.

The total value of non-residential permits was up 40.6 per cent to $3.4 billion in September, mostly attributable to large projects in Ontario (+$805 million).

The value of permits issued for industrial buildings rose in eight provinces, breaking the downward trend observed over the previous three months. Permits issued in Quebec, Ontario and Prince Edward Island drove the increase of 49.1 per cent to $713 million nationally.

Following two months of declines, the value of institutional permits expanded by 30.2 per cent to $799 million.

Following four consecutive quarters of decline, the value of building permits jumped 16.5 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, almost returning to levels observed in the fourth quarter of 2019. This was the largest gain since the fourth quarter of 2009 when the economy was recovering from the 2008 financial crisis, and possibly reflected the issuance of permits previously delayed as a result of COVID-19.

All sectors posted gains in the value of permits issued in the third quarter of 2020, with the residential sector soaring to record levels. Residential permits rose 16.8 per cent to $16.9 billion, the highest level since the start of the modern series which dates back to 2002.

Multi-family dwellings drove this upward movement, climbing back to just under the $9.4 billion peak reached in the second quarter of 2019.

In recent years, permits for single family homes have been declining slightly, but in the third quarter, they jumped 36.7 per cent to levels not seen since the first quarter of 2018. As teleworking has become the new normal for many people during the pandemic, the desire for more space may be shifting consumer demand towards single family homes.




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