Commercial intentions lead rise: StatCan building permit report

Statistics Canada
January 10, 2019
By Statistics Canada
Canadian municipalities issued $8.3 billion worth of building permits in November, up 2.6% from October. Higher construction intentions for commercial buildings drove most of the gain. In the commercial component, the value of building permits was up 16.8% to $2.1 billion, the highest level since May 2007. The increase was led by higher construction intentions for office buildings in the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Vancouver and Québec.

Following three consecutive monthly declines, the value of industrial building permits rose 21.9% to $527 million in November. The increase was mainly attributable to permits for new agricultural buildings.

In the institutional component, the value of permits was down 7.2% to $682 million in November, with Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador reporting the largest decreases. The decline in the institutional component was largely attributable to fewer high value permits issued for nursing homes compared with the previous month.

The value of building permits increased in six provinces in November, led by British Columbia and Quebec. Meanwhile, the value of permits rose in 14 of the 36 CMAs, led by Montréal, Vancouver and Calgary.

In British Columbia, the value of permits rose 14.3% to $1.7 billion. The commercial component posted the highest value on record, driven by a $240 million permit for an office building in the of Vancouver.

The value of building permits in Quebec was up 13.9% to $1.8 billion in November, following a decrease of 14.9% the previous month. The increase was largely the result of the issuance of high-value permits for large apartment buildings in the of Montréal and a record high for commercial permits in the of Québec.

In Alberta, the value of building permits increased 10.4% to $1.1 billion. The gain was largely driven by the of Calgary (+$131 million), where every component, except for industrial buildings, reported an increase.

In contrast, the value of building permits in Ontario was down 10.3% to $3.0 billion, following an increase of 9.0% in October. The value of permits in the of Toronto dropped 17.4% to $1.5 billion in November. The decrease in multi-family dwellings (-$225 million) was the main contributor to the decline. Despite the decrease in November, the year-to-date value in the Toronto for multi-family permits ($6.8 billion) has surpassed the total value for 2017 by 20.2%.

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