StatsCan building permits report: March 2019

StatsCan
May 10, 2019
By StatsCan
May 10, 2019 - Canadian municipalities issued $8.1 billion worth of building permits in March, up 2.1% from February. The increase was attributable to higher construction intentions in Western Canada.

Building permits up in Western Canada, down east of Manitoba
Four provinces reported increases in March, led by British Columbia with an increase of 12.8% (+$180 million). Meanwhile, all provinces east of Manitoba reported declines. The largest decrease was in Ontario, down 1.4% (-$43 million) due to lower construction intentions in the residential sector.

Quebec drives movement in non-residential permits
The national value of permits for non-residential buildings rose 7.9% in March, due to higher construction intentions for both institutional (+$175 million) and commercial (+$166 million) buildings. Gains in both of these components stemmed from Quebec. A high value permit for an addition to the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal drove the increase in the institutional component.

In the industrial component, the value of permits declined 15.6% in March (-$102 million). The decrease was largely the result of lower construction intentions in Quebec, where multiple high-value permits were issued in February.

First quarter 2019: Permits down sharply in Alberta year over year
Municipalities issued $24.3 billion worth of permits in the first quarter, down 3.5% (-$877 million) compared with the same quarter last year. Five provinces posted declines, with the majority of the decrease coming from Alberta (-$1.0 billion).

Every component was down in Alberta in the first quarter compared with the same quarter last year. Single-family construction accounted for approximately half of the provincial decline (-$539 million). This was the lowest value for single-family dwelling permits since the first quarter of 2009.

Meanwhile, in Quebec, the value of permits rose 2.1% (+$105 million) year over year in the first quarter. Every component except multi-family dwellings was up. The increase was largely the result of higher construction intentions for non-residential buildings.

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