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August 9, 2019

Building permits issued by Canadian municipalities decline in June

Statistics Canada reports that the value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities declined 3.7% to $8.0 billion in June, largely due to a decrease in the value of multi-family and institutional permits. Six provinces declined, with Alberta accounting for over one-third of the national decrease. Of the provinces posting gains, Nova Scotia reported the largest increase (+32.1%), reflecting gains in the value of residential and commercial permits in Halifax.

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Multi-family permits down

The value of permits for multi-family dwellings posted the largest monthly decrease of the five main components, down 6.7% in June to $2.6 billion. The decline was concentrated in Quebec, where the value of permits fell 21.8% following a 16.9% gain in May.

There were increases in other parts of the country, including the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo (+$82 million) and Kelowna (+$61 million).

Declines in institutional and commercial permits

The value of institutional permits decreased in seven provinces in June, with the largest decline in British Columbia. Despite the national decrease, the value of institutional permits remained 2.2% higher than a year earlier.

On a month-to-month basis, the value of commercial permits decreased 1.1% to $1.9 billion, largely due to declines in British Columbia and Alberta. However, there was a notable increase in Quebec (+$156 million), driven by a permit for Medicago, a biotech company in the CMA of Québec.

The value of industrial permits rose 1.7% in June, largely due to a high value permit for a food processing plant in the CMA of Calgary. This resulted in a 32.9% increase in the value of industrial permits for the province.

Second quarter 2019

Municipalities issued $25.8 billion of permits in the second quarter, up 5.8% from the previous quarter and up 4.1% compared with the same quarter in 2018. On a year-over-year basis, a 1.0% decline in the value of permits in the residential sector was offset by increased construction intentions in all three components of the non-residential sector.

The value of permits was up in seven provinces in the second quarter over the first quarter, led by British Columbia (+22.0% to $5.6 billion). The increase in British Columbia was attributable to a significant rise in permit applications in April in the residential sector of Metro Vancouver prior to the introduction of higher development charges in May.

The value of permits issued in Alberta increased 6.0% from the first to the second quarter, but remained 15.2% below the same quarter a year earlier. The second quarter of 2019 marked the fifth consecutive quarter where the value of permits in Alberta declined on a year-over-year basis.

See more charts on the Statistics Canada website