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Building permits, September 2014

Released: 2014-11-06

Municipalities issued building permits worth $7.5 billion in September, up 12.7% from August, following a 27.3% decrease the previous month. The increase in September resulted primarily from higher construction intentions for both non-residential and residential buildings in Ontario.

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 non-residential building permits rose 23.9% to $3.1 billion in September, the fifth increase in six months. Higher non-residential construction intentions were registered in six provinces, led by Ontario, followed by Quebec and Nova Scotia. Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta had the largest declines.

In the residential sector, the value of permits rose 6.1% to $4.4 billion in September. Gains were posted in seven provinces, led by Ontario and followed by Quebec and British Columbia. Declines were registered in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, following gains in all three provinces in August.

Non-residential sector: Increase in all three components

In September, construction intentions for institutional buildings rose 87.1% to $851 million, following a 75.5% decrease the previous month. The value of institutional building permits was up in five provinces. The increase in September resulted primarily from higher construction intentions for medical facilities and educational institutions in Ontario. Alberta recorded the largest decrease, as a result of lower construction intentions for educational institutions.

In the commercial component, the value of permits increased 8.7% to $1.7 billion in September, following a 12.8% decrease in August. The advance came from higher construction intentions in a variety of commercial buildings, including office buildings, warehouses, service stations as well as hotels and restaurants. Gains in Ontario, Nova Scotia and British Columbia more than offset decreases in the remaining seven provinces.

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

In the industrial component, the value of permits increased 13.4% to $496 million in September, after two consecutive monthly declines. The increase was largely attributable to higher construction intentions for manufacturing plants and utility buildings in Alberta and Quebec. Declines were registered in five provinces, with Nova Scotia and Ontario posting the largest decreases.

Residential sector: Higher construction intentions for both multi-family and single-family dwellings

Construction intentions for multi-family dwellings rose 10.8% to $2.0 billion, after a 28.0% decrease the previous month. In Ontario, higher construction intentions for row house, apartment and apartment-condominium projects were responsible for the gain. In Quebec and British Columbia, the growth in the value of permits for multi-family dwellings came mostly from apartment projects. Declines were posted in five provinces, with Alberta and Saskatchewan registering the largest decreases.

The value of building permits for single-family dwellings increased 2.5% to $2.4 billion in September. This followed a 2.3% decline the previous month. Advances were posted in seven provinces, with Ontario recording the largest gain. Quebec, British Columbia and Manitoba registered decreases.

Canadian municipalities approved the construction of 18,199 new dwellings in September, up 9.4% from August. This increase was mostly attributable to multi-family dwellings, which rose 12.9% to 11,814 units. The number of single-family dwellings increased 3.4% to 6,385 units.

Provinces: Ontario posts the largest advance

The total value of permits was up in seven provinces in September, led by Ontario, followed by Quebec and British Columbia.

Ontario posted the biggest advance, with large increases in the value of institutional and commercial as well as multi-family dwelling permits.

Quebec's gain resulted primarily from higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings and, to a lesser extent, institutional and industrial buildings. Gains in multi-family dwellings led to the increase in British Columbia.

Alberta recorded the largest decline as a result of lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings as well as commercial and institutional buildings.

Higher construction intentions in half of the census metropolitan areas

In September, construction intentions were up in 17 of Canada's 34 census metropolitan areas.

The largest increases were in Toronto, followed by Ottawa and Montréal. In Toronto, the advance was principally attributable to institutional and commercial buildings as well as multi-family dwellings. The gain in Ottawa was mainly the result of higher construction intentions for both multi-family and single-family dwellings, while in Montréal, the increase came from multi-family dwellings and institutional buildings.

In contrast, Calgary and Oshawa posted the largest declines in the total value of building permits. Lower construction intentions in commercial buildings and multi-family dwellings explained the decrease in Calgary, while in Oshawa, the decline originated mostly from multi-family 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 September 2014 issue of Building Permits (Catalogue number64-001-X) will soon be available.

The October building permits data will be released on December 8.

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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