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StatsCan building permits February 2009


April 26, 2009
By Anthony Capkun

The value of building permits fell 15.9% to $3.7 billion in February, with the largest decreases coming from Ontario’s non-residential sector. In the residential sector, the value of permits edged down 0.3% to $2.1 billion. The increase in the value of permits for multiple dwellings in British Columbia nearly offset the declines in the residential sector in six provinces.

In the non-residential sector, the value of permits fell 30.5% to $1.6
billion. This decline was due to a drop in Ontario and decreases in
four other provinces. The total value of construction intentions
declined in half the provinces.

Non-residential sector
Following a 64.2% increase in January, the value of permits for
institutional components declined 56.4% to $363 million in February.
The decrease came mainly from construction intentions for medical
buildings in Ontario and Quebec, and a decline in permits for
educational institutions in Ontario and Alberta.

Permit values for the commercial component declined 20.4% to $972
million. This decrease came largely from construction intentions for
office buildings and recreational buildings in Ontario. However,
British Columbia experienced the strongest growth in this component.

The value of industrial permits increased 14.3% to $236 million,
following a 50.8% decrease in January. The gain in February was a
result of increased intentions in six provinces.

Value of residential permits virtually unchanged
The value of permits in the residential sector declined 0.3%, as the
increase in multi-family permits nearly offset the decline in
single-family permits.

Municipalities issued $756 million worth of permits for multi-family
dwellings in February, up 10.6% from January. The value of multi-family
dwelling permits nearly quadrupled in British Columbia, while Quebec,
Saskatchewan and Ontario reported declines.

The value of single-family permits fell 5.5% in February to $1.3
billion. Intentions in this component have been declining since July
2008. The decrease in February was mainly a result of declines in
Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan.

Municipalities approved 10,341 new dwellings in February, down 3.2%.
Single-family units decreased 6.9% to 5,211. The number of multi-family
units rose 0.9% to 5,130 units.

Increase in British Columbia
The value of building permits increased in half the provinces with
British Columbia leading the way. That province reported an 86.5% gain
in the value of its permits, spread out among all components.

Ontario, meantime, experienced a 38.2% decline in the value of its
permits. This decrease came from construction intentions for
institutional and commercial buildings and residential permits. Quebec
(-18.0%) and Saskatchewan (-43.5%) also posted declines in both the
residential and non-residential sectors.

Metropolitan areas: increases in Vancouver
The total value of permits increased in 17 of the 34 census
metropolitan areas. Vancouver reported the most significant increases.
The advances were generalized except for the industrial component. In
contrast, Toronto saw declines for all components. Barrie, Ont.,
followed with decreases that could not be offset by the increase in the
value of multiple-family permits.


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