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Building permits, September 2016

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Released: 2016-11-08

Building permits — Canada

$6.9 billion

September 2016

-7.0% 

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.L.

$42.8 million

September 2016

39.6% 

(monthly change)

Building permits — P.E.I.

$16.2 million

September 2016

-28.8% 

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.S.

$83.8 million

September 2016

-25.3% 

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.B.

$66.5 million

September 2016

-27.7% 

(monthly change)

Building permits — Que.

$1,173.4 million

September 2016

-14.7% 

(monthly change)

Building permits — Ont.

$2,990.8 million

September 2016

-4.3% 

(monthly change)

Building permits — Man.

$199.8 million

September 2016

-23.8% 

(monthly change)

Building permits — Sask.

$143.1 million

September 2016

-4.7% 

(monthly change)

Building permits — Alta.

$1,120.0 million

September 2016

10.4% 

(monthly change)

Building permits — B.C.

$995.8 million

September 2016

-13.3% 

(monthly change)

Building permits — Y.T.

$8.9 million

September 2016

-64.9% 

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.W.T.

$11.0 million

September 2016

10.8% 

(monthly change)

Building permits — Nvt.

$2.0 million

September 2016

-22.8% 

(monthly change)

Municipalities issued $6.9 billion worth of building permits in September, down 7.0% from August. Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario recorded the largest declines. The overall decrease was attributable to lower construction intentions for non-residential buildings, led by commercial structures.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Total value of permits
Total value of permits

The value of non-residential building permits was down 22.3% to $2.2 billion in September, following two consecutive monthly advances. All three non-residential components—commercial, institutional and industrial—posted decreases, with commercial buildings registering the largest drop. Declines were recorded in every province, except Newfoundland and Labrador. The most notable decreases occurred in Ontario and Quebec.

Conversely, in the residential sector, the value of permits delivered by municipalities increased for a second consecutive month, up 2.6% from August to $4.6 billion in September. Higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings led the advance. Gains in Ontario and Alberta more than offset declines in six other provinces.

Non-residential sector: Commercial buildings post the largest decrease

The value of commercial building permits posted the largest decrease, falling 20.8% to $1.2 billion in September, following three consecutive monthly increases. The decline was largely attributable to lower construction intentions for retail complexes and office buildings. The value of commercial building permits was down in every province, except Newfoundland and Labrador. The most notable decrease was recorded in Ontario, followed distantly by British Columbia and Alberta.

In the institutional component, the value of building permits was down 22.3% to $636 million in September, as a result of lower construction intentions for universities and, to a lesser extent, retirement homes. Seven provinces posted decreases, led by Quebec, with British Columbia and Ontario a distant second and third. In contrast, Alberta recorded the largest increase.

The value of industrial permits fell 27.1% compared with August to $361 million in September. The decline stemmed from lower construction intentions for utilities buildings, transportation terminals and maintenance-related buildings. The value of industrial building permits was down in eight provinces, with Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta recording the most significant declines. The largest advance occurred in British Columbia.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Residential and non-residential sectors
Residential and non-residential sectors

Residential sector: Multi-family dwellings record the largest gain

The value of permits for multi-family dwellings recorded the largest gain, up 3.7% to $2.0 billion in September. This was the third consecutive monthly increase. The advance was driven by higher construction intentions for rental-apartments and was moderated by a decline in apartment-condominiums. Gains in Ontario and Alberta more than offset decreases in six provinces, the largest of which occurred in British Columbia.

In the single-family dwelling component, municipalities issued $2.6 billion worth of building permits in September, up 1.8% from August. Six provinces contributed to the gain, with Ontario recording the largest increase.

Municipalities approved the construction of 17,104 new dwellings in September, up 2.5% from the previous month. The rise was mainly attributable to multi-family dwellings, up 3.9% to 11,094 new units. Single-family dwellings edged up 0.2% to 6,010 new units.

Provinces: Largest declines in Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario

The total value of building permits was down in eight provinces in September, with Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario leading the decline.

In Quebec, the value of building permits fell 14.7% to $1.2 billion in September. Decreases were posted in every component, except single-family dwellings. The decline was largely attributable to lower construction intentions for institutional structures.

The value of permits in British Columbia decreased 13.3% to $996 million in September, the third decline in four months. Lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings and, to a lesser extent, institutional and commercial buildings were responsible for the decline.

In Ontario, the value of permits was down 4.3% to $3.0 billion in September, following two consecutive monthly gains. Decreases were observed in all of the non-residential components, led by commercial buildings. Higher residential construction intentions, most notably for multi-family dwellings, partially offset the provincial decline.

Conversely, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador posted gains. In Alberta, the value of building permits increased 10.4% to $1.1 billion in September. Higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings and institutional structures more than offset declines in every other component. The value of building permits was up 39.6% in Newfoundland and Labrador, following three consecutive monthly declines. Although the advance was spread across all components, multi-family dwellings accounted for more than half of the rise.

Census metropolitan areas: Montréal posts the largest decline

In September, the total value of building permits was down in 21 of the 34 census metropolitan areas. Montréal recorded the largest decline, followed by Toronto and Vancouver.

The value of building permits in Montréal fell 36.5% to $545 million in September, following a 69.5% increase the previous month. Lower construction intentions were recorded in every component, led by institutional structures and multi-family dwellings.

In Toronto, the value of permits declined 11.2% to $1.5 billion in September, following three consecutive monthly increases. Lower construction intentions for commercial buildings and, to a lesser extent, industrial buildings were responsible for the decline.

The value of building permits in Vancouver fell 20.0% to $521 million in September, the third decline in four months. The decrease was the result of lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings and commercial buildings.

In contrast, the value of permits in Hamilton rose to $251 million in September, more than twice the value in August. This was the fourth increase in five months. Higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings, led by apartment-condominiums, and for commercial buildings were responsible for the advance. In Calgary, the value of building permits increased 28.6%, largely as a result of higher construction intentions for rental apartments.




  Note to readers

Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted data, which facilitate comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations. For information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

The Building Permits Survey covers over 2,400 municipalities, representing 95% of the Canadian 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 presented 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.

Unless otherwise specified, the highlights refer to seasonally adjusted current dollars and are ranked in terms of dollar change rather than percentage change.

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.

For information on trend-cycle data, see the StatCan Blog and Trend-cycle estimates – Frequently asked questions.

Next release

Data for October on building permits will be released on December 8.

Products

The September 2016 issue of Building Permits (Catalogue number64-001-X) will soon be available.

Contact information

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

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Monia Bergeron (613-286-5152; monia.bergeron@canada.ca), Investment, Science and Technology Division.

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