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Permits up (commercial) and down (residential)

For the third month, single family residential permits drop


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May 7, 2012 by Robert Koci

In March, contractors took out building permits worth $6.8 billion, up 4.7% from February following a 7.6% increase the previous month. The gain was the result of higher construction intentions for both institutional and commercial buildings, mostly in Ontario.

The value of single-family dwelling permits declined 1.7% to $2.3 billion, the third consecutive monthly decrease. Gains in six provinces, led by Alberta, were not enough to offset decreases in the remaining provinces. The largest decline was recorded in Ontario, followed by Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick.

The value of multi-family dwelling permits fell 0.7% to $1.6 billion. Despite three consecutive monthly decreases, this level was 8.6% higher than the monthly average in 2011. Declines occurred in seven provinces, led by Quebec. Alberta reported the largest increase.

Municipalities across Canada issued permits for the construction of 17,650 new dwellings, up 2.1% from February. The increase came from both multi-family dwellings, which rose 2.5% to 10,594 units, and single-family dwellings, which increased 1.4% to 7,056 units.

Increases in most provinces

In March, the value of building permits was up in eight provinces.

Ontario registered the largest increase, as a result of higher construction intentions for institutional buildings and, to a lesser extent, for commercial buildings.

Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta posted the second- and third-highest gains, respectively. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the increase came from higher construction intentions for commercial and institutional buildings. In Alberta, the advance originated from an increase in the value of permits for residential, industrial and commercial buildings.

British Columbia posted the largest decline, as a result of lower construction intentions for industrial and commercial buildings and multi-family dwellings. Quebec reported decreases in every component except single-family dwellings.

Higher value of permits in most metropolitan areas

The total value of permits rose in 23 of Canada’s 34 census metropolitan areas.

The largest increases occurred in Toronto, Winnipeg and St. John’s. The advances in both Toronto and St. John’s originated from higher construction intentions for institutional and commercial buildings.

In Winnipeg, the gain came from higher construction intentions for both non-residential and residential buildings.

The largest decreases were in Montréal and Edmonton. In Montréal, the decline was mainly attributable to lower intentions for multi-family dwellings and industrial buildings.

Edmonton’s decline was the result of a decrease in the value of permits for industrial and institutional buildings and multi-family dwellings.


Robert Koci

Robert Koci

Rob Koci is the editor of Canadian Contractor magazine. rkoci@canadiancontractor.ca Tel. 647-628-3597
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