Building permits, January 2019
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Canadian municipalities issued $8.4 billion worth of building permits in January, down 5.5% from the record high in December. Lower construction intentions for commercial buildings were responsible for the national decline.
Non-residential sector: Commercial component down after record high in December
In the non-residential sector, $3.0 billion worth of permits were issued in January, down 15.8% from the previous month. The decrease was the result of lower construction intentions for commercial buildings, down 25.3% to $1.8 billion, following a record high in December.
Meanwhile, increases were reported for both the industrial (+4.8%) and institutional (+0.4%) components. The gains were mainly attributable to higher construction intentions in Ontario and Quebec.
Residential sector: Higher construction intentions for single- and multi-family dwellings
In the residential sector, the value of building permits increased 1.6% from December to $5.4 billion in January. Both single-family and multi-family dwellings posted gains.
The value of single-family dwelling permits rose 3.1% to $2.0 billion. Four provinces reported increases, led by Ontario, with Quebec a distant second.
In the multi-family dwelling component, building permits issued by municipalities rose 0.7% to $3.3 billion in January, surpassing the record high set in December. This was the fifth consecutive monthly increase. The largest gain was in Ontario, while Quebec reported the largest decline.
In January, municipalities approved the construction of 21,193 new dwellings (+3.5%), consisting of 16,798 multi-family units (+5.1%) and 4,395 single-family units (-2.3%).
Provinces and census metropolitan areas: British Columbia reports declines in all components
The total value of building permits fell in five provinces in January, with British Columbia reporting the largest decline. Meanwhile, construction intentions were down in 16 of the 36 census metropolitan areas (CMAs). Vancouver and Montréal recorded the most notable decreases.
In British Columbia, the value of permits fell 24.3% to $1.6 billion, as all components declined. This followed a record high of $2.1 billion in December. The decrease in January was largely the result of lower construction intentions for commercial buildings in the CMA of Vancouver, where the value of permits fell 56.0% to $216 million.
The value of building permits in Quebec declined 10.3% to $1.6 billion. The decrease was mostly attributable to lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings in the CMA of Montréal, where the value of permits was down 39.5% to $338 million.
Meanwhile, the value of Ontario permits grew 8.6% to $3.4 billion in January. All components, except commercial buildings, reported an increase. The value of building permits for multi-family dwellings in the CMA of Toronto rose 26.5% to $871 million, the second highest value on record.
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 facilitate 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 seasonally adjusted data and 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 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 February will be released on April 8.
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).