Building permits March 2009

Anthony Capkun
May 20, 2009
May 20, 2009According to StatsCan, contractors took out $4.5 billion in building permits in March, up 23.5% from February, halting five consecutive monthly declines. March’s increase came mainly from the non-residential sector in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.
Value of permits increases in March
Intentions in the non-residential sector rose 47.9% to $2.3 billion, in the wake of increases in the commercial and institutional components in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta. In the residential sector, the value of permits advanced 5% to $2.2 billion. This increase was the result of higher construction intentions in both multi-family and single-family permits.

Non-residential sector
Following a 30% decrease in February, the value of the non-residential sector increased in six provinces, mainly as a result of gains in the commercial and institutional components. In the commercial component, the value of permits increased 45.6% to $1.4 billion. This increase came mostly from higher construction intentions for office buildings in Ontario.

Permits in the institutional component increased 89.2% to $722 million, following a 54.2% decline in February. This increase was largely the result of higher construction intentions for medical buildings in British Columbia and government and education buildings in Ontario.

In the industrial component, the value of permits fell 8.8% to $216 million following a 14.7% increase in February. The decline in March was due to lower construction intentions in Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Residential sector
Municipalities issued $817-million worth of multi-family permits in March, up 7.3% from February. Quebec and Alberta accounted for most of the increase, although four other provinces showed higher intentions for the construction of multiple dwellings. In contrast, British Columbia posted a large decline.

Single-family permits halted their eight-month decline, increasing 3.7% to $1.4 billion. Ontario and Alberta accounted for most of the gain.

Municipalities approved 11,305 new dwellings in March, up 10.5%. This was due to a 26.5% increase in multi-family units to 6,479. The number of single-family units approved declined 5.6% to 4,826 units.

Permits up in half of the provinces
The value of building permits increased in half of the provinces in March. The most significant increases occurred in Ontario (+45.7% to $1.8 billion), Quebec (+30.3% to $1 billion) and Alberta (+34.1% to $696 million). The increases were mostly a result of higher construction intentions in the non-residential sector.

Declines occurred in the Atlantic provinces, except for Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Manitoba and British Columbia.

Permits up in most census metropolitan areas
The total value of permits was up in 24 of the 34 census metropolitan areas.

Permits values increased in Toronto as higher construction intentions in all non-residential components more than offset decreases in the residential sector. The increase in permit value in Edmonton came from both the residential and non-residential sectors. The value of building permits in Vancouver fell 42% to $192 millions, the sixth decline in seven months. This was a result of drops in all components except for permits for industrial projects.

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