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Building permits, July 2014

Released: 2014-09-08

Canadian municipalities issued building permits worth $9.2 billion dollars in July, up 11.8% from June and the fourth consecutive monthly advance. The increase in July was mainly attributable to higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings in Ontario and British Columbia as well as institutional buildings in Manitoba.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Total value of permits - Description and data table
Total value of permits

Chart 1: Total value of permits - Description and data table

The value of residential building permits increased for the fifth consecutive month, up 18.0% to $5.0 billion in July. Gains were posted in seven provinces, led by Ontario and British Columbia, with Alberta a distant third. The largest decline occurred in Nova Scotia.

In the non-residential sector, the value of permits rose 5.2% to a record high $4.2 billion. This represented a fourth consecutive monthly increase. Gains were recorded in six provinces, with Manitoba accounting for most of the increase. In contrast, the largest decline occurred in Alberta, followed by Quebec. Both provinces posted large gains the previous month.

Residential sector: Significant increase in construction intentions for multi-family dwellings

The value of building permits for multi-family dwellings rose 43.4% to $2.5 billion in July, after a 4.5% decrease the previous month. This gain was primarily the result of higher construction intentions for apartment and apartment-condominium projects in Ontario, British Columbia and, to a lesser extent, Alberta.

Canadian municipalities issued permits for single-family dwellings worth $2.4 billion in July, a slight decrease of 0.5%, after three consecutive monthly increases. The value of single-family dwelling permits declined in five provinces, with the largest decrease occurring in Ontario. Alberta saw the largest increase, followed by Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.

At the national level, municipalities approved permits for the construction of 20,511 new dwellings, up 21.4% from June. This increase was attributable to multi-family dwellings, which rose 35.2% to 14,050 units. In contrast, the number of single-family dwellings edged down 0.6% to 6,461 units.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Residential and non-residential sectors - Description and data table
Residential and non-residential sectors

Chart 2: Residential and non-residential sectors - Description and data table

Non-residential sector: Large increase in construction intentions for institutional buildings

The value of permits for institutional buildings rose 28.4% to $1.8 billion in July, following a large increase the previous month. This gain was primarily the result of higher construction intentions for medical facilities in Quebec and Manitoba, as well as educational institutions in Alberta.

In the commercial component, the value of building permits rose 2.6% to $1.8 billion in July, following a 2.3% decrease in June. Gains were reported in five provinces, led by Ontario and Quebec. Higher construction intentions for warehouses and, to a lesser degree, retail and wholesale outlets were mainly responsible for the increase at the national level.

Construction intentions for industrial buildings fell 32.6% to $511 million in July, ending a string of three consecutive monthly gains. Lower construction intentions for communication buildings in Quebec and utility buildings in Ontario and Alberta accounted for most of the decline.

Provinces: Significant gains in Ontario, British Columbia and Manitoba

The value of permits increased in five provinces, with the largest gain in Ontario, followed by British Columbia and Manitoba.

Most of the gain in Ontario and British Columbia was attributable to multi-family dwellings, while the increase in Manitoba came from the institutional component and, to a lesser extent, the commercial component.

Quebec posted the largest decline, followed by Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. The decrease in Quebec was mainly because of a 65.3% decline in construction intentions for industrial buildings. Newfoundland and Labrador's decrease was attributable to lower construction intentions for commercial buildings, while in Nova Scotia, lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings were responsible for the decrease.

Higher construction intentions in most census metropolitan areas

In July, the value of building permits was up in 21 of the 34 census metropolitan areas, led by Toronto, Vancouver and Hamilton.

The gain in Toronto was driven by higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings and, to a lesser extent, institutional buildings. The increase in Vancouver came mainly from multi-family dwellings, while in Hamilton, institutional buildings and multi-family dwellings were responsible for the increase.

The largest declines occurred in Calgary, followed by Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo. In Calgary, the decrease was mostly attributable to commercial buildings, while in Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo, the decrease was attributable to institutional 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 Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

The Building Permits Survey covers 2,400 municipalities representing 95% of the population. The communities representing the other 5% of the population are very small, and their levels of building activity have little impact on the total for the entire population.

Building permits data are used as a leading indicator of activity in the construction industry.

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.

Revision

Data for the current reference month are subject to revision based on late responses. Data for the previous month have been revised.

Trend-cycle estimates have been added to the charts as a complement to the seasonally adjusted series. Both the seasonally adjusted and the trend-cycle estimates are subject to revision as additional observations become available. These revisions could be large and even lead to a reversal of movement, especially at the end of the series. The higher variability associated with the trend-cycle estimates is indicated with a dotted line on the chart.

The July 2014 issue of Building Permits (Catalogue number64-001-X) will soon be available.

The August building permits data will be released on October 7.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Jérémie Bennett (613-951-0793), Investment, Science and Technology Division.

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