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Building permits October 2020 – Ontario gets pummelled


December 2, 2020
By Anthony Capkun


December 2, 2020 – Municipalities issued building permits worth $8.2 billion in October, down 14.6% from the previous month. September’s peak was the second-highest value on record, with October’s results more in line with recent months.

Statscan’s October 2020 Building Permits report also shows the total value of non-residential permits fell 29.5% to $2.5 billion in October, after several large permits were issued the prior month. Ontario (-$868 million) was responsible for over 4/5 of the decline.

In fact, commercial permits set a record decline, falling 40.9% to $1.2 billion in October—the lowest level since November 2011. The value of commercial permits in Ontario fell by 64.4%, following a record set in September due to the high-value permits issued for Project Python in Ottawa and the Breithaupt Block office buildings in Kitchener.

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Excluding Ontario, commercial permits for the rest of the country were stable compared with the previous month.

Industrial permits were down 19.8% in October to $582 million, with declines posted in every province. Quebec (-$60 million) and Prince Edward Island (-$55 million) recorded the most significant declines, with the latter issuing a permit for a manufacturing plant worth $50 million in the prior month.

Despite a gain of 153.7% or $79 million in Alberta, institutional permits decreased 9.9% nationally to $723 million. Quebec (-31.2%), Ontario (-15.5%) and Newfoundland & Labrador (-99.3%) registered the largest declines. The drop in Newfoundland & Labrador followed a $43 million jump in Corner Brook for a long-term care home permit issued in September.

Although the total value of residential permits decreased 5.9% to $5.7 billion in October (after a record high in September), the value of residential permits continued to show strength. Excluding Ontario (-9.4%) and British Columbia (-12%), the rest of the country reported a slight increase for the month.

Following five consecutive monthly gains throughout the pandemic, permits issued for single-family dwellings declined 2.2% to $2.7 billion in October. Declines were reported in three provinces: Ontario (-8.7%), Newfoundland & Labrador (-8%) and New Brunswick (-3.4%). Nova Scotia posted the largest gain (+26%) as the city of Halifax cleared up a previous backlog of permits.

Permits issued for multi-family dwellings dropped 9% to $3 billion, with Ontario (-10%) and British Columbia (-18.2%) recording the most significant declines. Conversely, Nova Scotia (+79.5%) reported the largest increase as, again, Halifax cleared a backlog of permits.



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