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Calgary airport expansion fuels big jump in industrial permits

November 30, 2021
By Stats Canada

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The total value of building permits rose 4.3% to $10.1 billion in September, led by Ontario (+6.3%). Construction intentions in the residential sector were up 8.2%, while the non-residential sector decreased 3.2%.

On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), building permits increased 3.4% to $6.9 billion.

Ontario drives residential permits up
High-value permits for two new condo buildings valued at over $300 million in the cities of Mississauga and Toronto helped push Ontario’s multi-family permits up 40.4% to $1.7 billion in September. At the national level, multi-family permits rose sharply, up 18.6% to $3.9 billion.

Conversely, construction intentions for single-family homes declined 2.7% to $3.0 billion, mainly reflecting decreases in Ontario and Quebec.

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Overall, the residential sector rose 8.2% in September to $6.9 billion.

Non-residential permit values down
Construction intentions for the non-residential sector were down 3.2% to $3.3 billion in September, despite climbing 55.0% in Alberta.

The value of institutional building permits dropped 30.6%, mostly due to a 35.3% decline in Quebec. The decrease in Quebec followed a strong August when a $116 million permit was issued for a hospital expansion in the city of Verdun.

Commercial building permits fell 12.4% to $1.6 billion in September, mostly due to declines in Ontario.

Industrial building permits jumped 72.1% to $987 million, a record high for the series. Alberta’s growth of 382.9% led the way, reflecting a permit valued at $400 million for the expansion of Calgary International Airport’s Airside Maintenance Centre.

Third quarter construction intentions continue to ease
The total value of building permits saw a second quarterly decline, down 3.8% to $29.8 billion in the third quarter compared with the previous quarter. However, building permits were 14.3% higher compared with the third quarter of 2020.

The value of residential building permits fell 5.4% to $20.2 billion in the third quarter of 2021, with declines in both single-family and multi-family dwellings. In contrast, on a year-over-year basis, the residential sector was up 16.5%.

Construction intentions for the non-residential sector edged down 0.2% to $9.6 billion compared with the second quarter. Industrial building permits rose 33.8%, helped by large projects such as the Calgary International Airport’s Airside Maintenance Centre expansion and a wind turbine blade manufacturing plant in Quebec. However, declines in the commercial (-3.2%) and institutional (-14.4%) components pulled the sector down overall for the quarter.

On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), building permits fell 6.6% to $20.4 billion in the third quarter, and were down 3.1% compared with the same period a year earlier. The year-over-year decrease in constant dollar terms mainly reflects higher construction prices in 2021.


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