Building permits, November 2018
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Canadian municipalities issued $8.3 billion worth of building permits in November, up 2.6% from October. Higher construction intentions for commercial buildings drove most of the gain.
Non-residential sector: Commercial permits drive the increase
The value of non-residential building permits rose 11.6% to $3.3 billion in November. Construction intentions rose in five provinces, with British Columbia accounting for most of the gain.
In the commercial component, the value of building permits was up 16.8% to $2.1 billion, the highest level since May 2007. The increase was led by higher construction intentions for office buildings in the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Vancouver and Québec.
Following three consecutive monthly declines, the value of industrial building permits rose 21.9% to $527 million in November. The increase was mainly attributable to permits for new agricultural buildings.
In the institutional component, the value of permits was down 7.2% to $682 million in November, with Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador reporting the largest decreases. The decline in the institutional component was largely attributable to fewer high value permits issued for nursing homes compared with the previous month.
Residential sector: Single-family dwellings post the largest decline
In the residential sector, the value of building permits decreased 2.5% to $5.0 billion in November. There were declines in five provinces, most notably Ontario. Meanwhile, the largest gain was in Quebec.
The value of single-family permits fell 5.5% to $2.2 billion in November, after increasing 4.7% the previous month. Ontario reported the largest decline (-8.1% to $930 million)—the lowest reported value since January 2016.
In the multi-family dwelling component, municipalities issued $2.9 billion worth of building permits in November, edging down 0.1% from October. Ontario reported the largest decrease (-$232 million), which was largely offset by a $204 million gain in Quebec.
In November, municipalities approved the construction of 19,378 new dwellings (-3.1%), consisting of 4,725 single-family units (-7.0%) and 14,653 multi-family units (-1.8%).
Provinces and census metropolitan areas: British Columbia and Quebec register largest increases
The value of building permits increased in six provinces in November, led by British Columbia and Quebec. Meanwhile, the value of permits rose in 14 of the 36 CMAs, led by Montréal, Vancouver and Calgary.
In British Columbia, the value of permits rose 14.3% to $1.7 billion. The commercial component posted the highest value on record, driven by a $240 million permit for an office building in the CMA of Vancouver.
The value of building permits in Quebec was up 13.9% to $1.8 billion in November, following a decrease of 14.9% the previous month. The increase was largely the result of the issuance of high-value permits for large apartment buildings in the CMA of Montréal and a record high for commercial permits in the CMA of Québec.
In Alberta, the value of building permits increased 10.4% to $1.1 billion. The gain was largely driven by the CMA of Calgary (+$131 million), where every component, except for industrial buildings, reported an increase.
In contrast, the value of building permits in Ontario was down 10.3% to $3.0 billion, following an increase of 9.0% in October. The value of permits in the CMA of Toronto dropped 17.4% to $1.5 billion in November. The decrease in multi-family dwellings (-$225 million) was the main contributor to the decline. Despite the decrease in November, the year-to-date value in the Toronto CMA for multi-family permits ($6.8 billion) has surpassed the total value for 2017 by 20.2%.
Dwelling units, value of residential and non-residential building permits, Canada – Seasonally adjusted
Note to readers
Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted data, which facilitates month-to-month 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 (such as waterworks, sewers or culverts) and land.
For the purposes of this release, the census metropolitan area of Ottawa–Gatineau (Ontario/Quebec) is divided into two areas: the Ottawa part and the Gatineau part.
Unless otherwise specified, the highlights refer to seasonally adjusted current dollars and are ranked in terms of dollar change rather than percentage change.
Unadjusted data for the current reference month are subject to revision based on late responses. Data for the previous month have been revised. Seasonally adjusted data are revised for the previous two months.
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.
Data on building permits for December 2018 will be released on February 6, 2019.
Statistics Canada has a new Housing Market Indicators Dashboard. This web application provides access to key housing market indicators for Canada, by province and by census metropolitan area. These indicators are automatically updated with new information from monthly releases, giving users access to the latest data.
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).