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StatsCan reports building permits for November 2009


January 11, 2010
By Anthony Capkun

StatsCan reports contractors took out $5.9 billion in building permits in November 2009, down 4.6% from October, but 23.1% higher than November 2008 and 62.8% above February 2009 (when the lowest value during the economic downturn was recorded). However, November’s value remained below values recorded in 2007 and early 2008.

The decline in November was due to decreases in the non-residential
sector, which outweighed increases in the residential sector.

Total value of permits
In the residential sector, the value of permits continued its upward
trend. Construction intentions, which have started to approach their
pre-downturn levels, rose 9.1% to $3.8 billion in November, a fourth
consecutive monthly increase. Ontario and British Columbia accounted
for most of the gains at the national level.

In the non-residential sector, municipalities issued $2.1 billion worth
of permits in November, down 21.9% from October. This decrease occurred
mainly as a result of declines in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec. The
total value of building intentions fell in four provinces: Alberta,
Saskatchewan, Quebec and Prince Edward Island.

Residential and non-residential sectors
Building intentions declined in the industrial and institutional
components of the non-residential sector in November. In the industrial
component, intentions fell 57.6% to $296 million in November, following
strong gains in October. Overall, seven provinces reported lower
construction intentions, in particular Alberta, Quebec and Ontario.

In the institutional component, municipalities issued permits worth
$675 million, down 26.4% following a 53.1% gain in October. Alberta and
Saskatchewan posted the largest declines. This was mainly as a result
of decreases in building permits for educational buildings projects.

The value of commercial building permits increased 3.9% to $1.2
billion. The advance was due primarily to construction intentions for
recreational buildings and office buildings in Alberta and British
Columbia.

Municipalities issued $1.3-billion worth of building permits for
multi-family dwellings in November, 23.3% more than in October. This
was fuelled by higher construction intentions in seven provinces, in
particular, Ontario and British Columbia.

The value of building permits for single-family dwellings increased for
a ninth consecutive month, rising 2.9% in November to $2.5 billion.
Ontario, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and British Columbia
posted the largest increases. Quebec registered a significant decline
in single-family construction intentions.

Nationally, municipalities approved the construction of 17,589 new
dwelling units in November, up 9.7%. The increase was largely
attributable to multi-family dwellings, which increased 16.7% to 8850
units in November. The number of single-family dwellings approved rose
3.4% to 8739 units.

The value of building permits decreased in four provinces, offsetting
the increases in the other six provinces. The largest declines occurred
in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec. These provinces recorded declines
mainly in the value of permits in the non-residential sector, which had
increased in October.

Ontario posted the largest advance in November, reflecting gains in
single- and multi-family dwellings as well as in institutional permits.
Ontario was followed by British Columbia, which registered gains in
single and multiple dwellings and in the commercial component of the
non-residential sector.

The total value of permits declined in half of the 34 census
metropolitan areas. The largest declines were in Calgary and Toronto.
In both municipalities, the increase in the value of residential
permits was insufficient to offset declines in all three components of
the non-residential sector.

In contrast, Vancouver and Hamilton registered increases. In Vancouver,
the gain originated from multiple-family dwellings as well as from the
commercial and institutional components of the non-residential sector.
In Hamilton, the increase came from building permits for the
residential sector and for commercial buildings.