Electrical Business


Building permits December 2008

March 5, 2009 | By Anthony Capkun

March 5, 2009

Municipalities issued $4.6 billion in building permits in December 2008, reports StatsCan, down 3.9% from November. This third consecutive monthly decline was the result of decreases in both the residential and non-residential sectors.

value of residential permits declined by 3.2% to $2.6 billion, the
ninth monthly decrease in 2008. Increases in multi-family permits in
Ontario were not enough to offset the declines in single-family permits
in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

value of permits in the non-residential sector declined 4.9% to $2
billion, the third consecutive monthly decrease. This decrease came
mainly from institutional permits in Alberta and commercial permits in
British Columbia. Construction intentions were down in five provinces
and all three territories.

Residential sector

value of single-family permits fell 10.8% to $1.6 billion in December,
their sixth monthly decline in a row. The drop in December occurred
mainly as a result of declines in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

four consecutive monthly declines, the value of multi-family permits
increased 10.6% to $1.1 billion. A significant increase (in dollars) in
Ontario was enough to offset declines in seven provinces and three

approved 13,777 new dwellings in December, a number similar to the
previous month. Of these, single-family units were down 9.4% to 6030,
while multi-family units were up 9.3% to 7,747.


In the
industrial component, the value of permits increased to $419 million,
up 30.4% from November. This followed two months of double-digit
declines. The increase resulted mostly from construction intentions for
manufacturing buildings in Quebec.

The gain in industrial permits tempered declines in the other two components.

In the
institutional component, intentions fell 16.8% to $501 million, the
third consecutive monthly decline. Increases in eight provinces were
offset by a significant decrease in Alberta, the result of lower
intentions for medical projects.

In the
commercial component, the value of permits fell 8.5% to $1.1 billion, a
third consecutive monthly decline. December’s decrease came mainly from
lower demand for recreation and warehouse building permits in British

Most significant declines in Alberta and British Columbia

The most
significant decreases in December occurred in Alberta and British
Columbia. In Alberta, the value of permits fell 27% to $761 million, as
a result of declines in all components of the residential and
non-residential sectors.

British Columbia, permit values declined 40.9% to $358 million as a
result of decreases in the residential sector and the commercial
component. In contrast, Ontario reported increases in total permit
values, mainly a result of gains in multiple-family permits and in all
three components of the non-residential sector. Quebec also reported an
increase, the result of higher values in non-residential components and
single-family permits.

Declines in most census metropolitan areas

total value of permits declined in 21 out of the 34 census metropolitan
areas in December. The largest declines (in dollars) occurred in
Calgary, Vancouver and Ottawa, as all three experienced decreases in
both residential and non-residential construction intentions. In
Toronto, the increase came from the residential sector where the value
has tripled for multiple-family permits.


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