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StatsCan building permits report: February 2015


April 22, 2015
By Stats Canada

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statscanfebApril 22, 2015 – Canadian municipalities issued building permits worth $6.1 billion in
February, edging down 0.9% from the previous month. This was the second
consecutive monthly decline. Lower construction intentions in Quebec,
Ontario and Alberta were responsible for the decrease at the national
level.

The value of permits in the non-residential sector fell 5.4% to
$2.0 billion in February, marking the second decrease in three months.
Quebec and Alberta accounted for much of the decline in non-residential
building construction intentions. Ontario registered the biggest gain,
followed by British Columbia.

In February, the value of residential building permits rose 1.5% to
$4.1 billion, following an 8.1% decline in January. The increase stemmed
from higher construction intentions in six provinces, led by Quebec,
followed by British Columbia and Nova Scotia. Ontario saw the largest
decline in the residential sector.

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Non-residential sector: Lower construction intentions for institutional and commercial buildings

Municipalities issued $377 million worth of institutional building
permits in February, down 20.5% from January and the second straight
monthly decline. The decrease came from a variety of buildings,
including educational institutions, government buildings, medical
facilities and retirement homes. Declines were recorded in five
provinces, led by Quebec. British Columbia registered the largest
increase.

In the commercial component, the value of permits fell for a second
consecutive month, down 6.2% to $1.2 billion in February. Decreases were
posted in three provinces, led by Quebec, followed by Alberta and
Newfoundland and Labrador. Nationally, the decline came from lower
construction intentions for recreational facilities and, to a lesser
degree, warehouses. Ontario registered the largest increase in the
component.

The value of permits issued for industrial buildings rose 19.2% to
$399 million in February, following a 23.2% decline the previous month.
The increase resulted mostly from higher construction intentions for
transportation-related buildings and primary industry facilities in
Ontario. The gain in Ontario was sufficiently large to offset the
declines in seven provinces, with British Columbia and Alberta
registering the largest decreases.

Residential sector: Higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings

The value of multi-family dwelling permits increased 20.7% to
$1.8 billion in February, ending a string of four consecutive monthly
declines. The advance was attributable to higher construction intentions
in every province except Ontario. Quebec posted the largest advance,
followed by British Columbia and Nova Scotia.

Construction intentions for single-family dwellings declined 9.6% to
$2.3 billion, following two consecutive monthly increases. The decrease
came from lower construction intentions in every province except Nova
Scotia, which posted a slight increase. Quebec, Alberta, British
Columbia and Ontario accounted for most of the decline.

Canadian municipalities approved the construction of 15,133 new
dwellings in February, up 2.7% from January. The increase was a result
of a 9.4% gain in the number of multi-family dwellings to 9,325 units.
The number of single-family dwellings declined 6.6% to 5,808 units.

Provinces: Quebec, Ontario and Alberta post large declines

The total value of permits was down in four provinces in February,
with Quebec posting the largest decline, followed by Ontario and
Alberta.

The large decrease in Quebec occurred as a result of lower
construction intentions for commercial and institutional buildings, as
well as single-family dwellings. While the value of multi-family
dwelling permits issued in Quebec increased significantly, it was not
enough to offset declines in the other components.

In Ontario, the decline was attributable to lower construction
intentions for residential buildings, mainly multi-family dwellings. In
Alberta, the decrease came mostly from single-family dwellings and
commercial buildings.

In contrast, the largest gain occurred in British Columbia, where
multi-family dwellings and, to a lesser extent, commercial and
institutional buildings were responsible for the advance. The increase
in Nova Scotia resulted largely from higher construction intentions for
multi-family dwellings.

Higher construction intentions in most census metropolitan areas

The total value of building permits was up in 23 of the 34 census
metropolitan areas in February, with Vancouver,
Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo and Halifax posting the largest increases.

In Vancouver, the increase resulted from higher construction
intentions for multi-family dwellings, as well as commercial and
institutional buildings. In Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo, multiple
dwellings and commercial buildings largely explained the increase, while
in Halifax, higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings
accounted for most of the gain in February.

Conversely, Toronto and Montréal registered the largest decreases. In
Toronto, the decline originated from lower construction intentions for
multiple dwellings and, to a lesser degree, single-family houses as well
as institutional buildings. In Montréal, which had the biggest gain the
previous month, the decrease came from commercial and institutional
buildings, as well as single-family dwellings.


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