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Following a few great months, building permits plummet in May 2021

July 8, 2021 | By Anthony Capkun

July 8, 2021 – Following four consecutive months of reaching new highs, Statscan reports the total value of building permits dropped a record $1.6 billion (-14.8%) to $9.5 billion in May 2021.

Every component was down, with multi-family dwellings in Ontario accounting for nearly 3/5 of the overall national decline.

The value of permits for multi-family dwellings dropped 20.6% to $3.3 billion in May, the lowest value since August 2020.

All provinces, except for Newfoundland & Labrador, posted a decrease in the value of permits issued for single-family dwellings, which fell 10.6% nationally to $3.2 billion.

Quebec accounted for almost half of the national decline, with fewer permits issued in municipalities outside of the census metropolitan areas.

Overall, the value of permits issued in the residential sector pulled back 16.0% to $6.5 billion.

Construction intentions for the non-residential sector were down 12.2% to $3.0 billion in May, with Ontario and Quebec falling 21.5% and 22.9%, respectively.

Commercial permits fell 15.8% to $1.6 billion overall. Ontario dropped 33.9% as no permit in excess of $25 million was issued for the province in May, compared with six in the previous month, worth a total of $295 million.

The value of permits issued for industrial buildings fell 14.6% to $511 million. Seven provinces reported a decline in this component, with Quebec recording the largest decrease. Quebec saw an uptick in April (largely due to a $105-million permit issued for renovations to a mining facility in the municipality of Sept-Iles).

The value of institutional permits decreased 3.4% to $900 million. Gains in four provinces—led by British Columbia and Manitoba—were not enough to counter a $115-million decline observed in Quebec.

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