Building permits, July 2012
Municipalities issued building permits worth just over $6.8 billion in July, down 2.3% from June. This followed a month of relative stability between May and June. The main factor in the decline was lower construction intentions for both residential and non-residential buildings, particularly in Ontario.
Total value of permits
In the residential sector, the value of permits decreased 2.4% to $4.3 billion, following two consecutive monthly advances. The decline was attributable mainly to lower construction intentions in four provinces, led by Ontario, with Saskatchewan a distant second.
In the non-residential sector, the value of permits fell 2.1% to $2.5 billion after a 9.0% decrease in June. Non-residential permits declined in six provinces with Ontario and Saskatchewan accounting for most of the drop.
Residential sector: Construction intentions down for both multi-family and single-family dwellings
The value of permits for multi-family dwellings decreased 4.3% to $1.9 billion, following two consecutive monthly increases. Construction intentions were down in seven provinces, with Ontario posting the largest decline, followed by Saskatchewan and Alberta. The value of multi-family permits increased in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Municipalities issued $2.5 billion worth of building permits for single-family dwellings in July, a 0.9% decline following two monthly advances. Most of the declines occurred in British Columbia, Ontario and Saskatchewan. The value of permits for single-family houses rose in five provinces, including Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec.
Nationally, municipalities authorized construction of 19,139 new dwellings, down 4.9% from June. The decrease was attributable to both multi-family dwellings, which fell 6.8% to 11,846 units, and single-family dwellings, which declined 1.6% to 7,293 units.
Residential and non-residential sectors
Non-residential sector: Declines in the institutional and industrial components
In July, the value of permits for non-residential construction decreased for the second consecutive month. Declines in the institutional and industrial components more than offset gains in the commercial component.
In the institutional component, the value of permits fell 25.2% to $404 million, the second consecutive monthly decline and the lowest level since February 2012. The decrease was mainly the result of lower construction intentions for educational institutions in Ontario and British Columbia and government buildings in Saskatchewan and Alberta.
The value of permits for industrial buildings decreased 3.7% to $462 million, following a 0.5% advance in June. The decline was mostly the result of lower construction intentions for manufacturing plants in Ontario, the value of which had increased the previous month.
In contrast, Alberta and Quebec recorded the largest increases. Alberta's gain came from manufacturing plants, utilities and transportation-related buildings. Quebec's advance was attributable to utilities and transportation-related buildings.
In the commercial component, the value of permits rose 6.4% to $1.7 billion, the fifth monthly increase since the beginning of the year. The advance was largely a result of higher construction intentions for a variety of commercial buildings. These included retail outlets and theatre and performing art centres in British Columbia, and recreational facilities in Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.
Provinces: Construction intentions down significantly in Ontario
In July, the total value of permits declined in six provinces, led by Ontario, followed by Saskatchewan and Alberta.
After two consecutive monthly gains, Ontario recorded the largest decrease, mainly as a result of lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings, institutional and industrial buildings.
The decline in Saskatchewan, which was the second in a row, originated from residential, institutional and industrial buildings. Even so, the total value of permits in Saskatchewan was 10.3% higher than the monthly average in 2011. Alberta's drop was attributable to institutional and commercial buildings, as well as multi-family dwellings.
British Columbia posted the largest gain, a result of growth in the value of permits for commercial buildings and multi-family dwellings. The gain in Newfoundland and Labrador was mainly attributable to higher construction intentions for commercial buildings and single-family dwellings.
In Quebec, the value of permits for industrial and institutional buildings was behind the increase, while in New Brunswick, gains were reported in institutional and commercial buildings, and single-family dwellings.
Permits value down in most census metropolitan areas
The total value of permits fell in 24 of the 34 census metropolitan areas.
Toronto and Regina registered the largest decreases. In Toronto, the decline was primarily attributable to lower construction intentions for residential and institutional buildings. Regina's decrease originated from multi-family dwellings and institutional buildings.
The largest advance occurred in Vancouver and Montréal. In Vancouver, the gain was the result of growth in the value of permits for commercial buildings and multi-family dwellings. In Montréal, the advance was attributable to a large extent to multi-family dwellings and industrial buildings.
Note to readers
Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted data, which facilitates comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonal adjustment and identifying economic trends.
The Building Permits Survey covers 2,400 municipalities representing 95% of the population. It provides an early indication of building activity.
The communities representing the other 5% of the population are very small, and their levels of building activity have little impact on the total.
The value of planned construction activities shown in this release excludes engineering projects (for example, waterworks, sewers or culverts) and land.
For the purpose of this release, the census metropolitan area of Ottawa–Gatineau (Ontario/Quebec) is divided into two areas: Gatineau part and Ottawa part.
Data for the current reference month are subject to revision based on late responses. Data have been revised for the previous month.
Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number survey number2802.
The July 2012 issue of Building Permits (Catalogue number64-001-X, free) will soon be available.
The August building permits data will be released on October 5.
For more information, contact Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 613-951-8116; firstname.lastname@example.org).
To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Mariane Nozière Bien-Aimé (613-951-7520), Investment, Science and Technology Division.
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