Value of Canadian building permits rose 6.3% to C$7B in July, matching record high set in May 2007; increase driven by multifamily permits in Ontario

OTTAWA , September 8, 2011 () – The value of building permits rose 6.3% to $7.0 billion in July, matching the record high set in May 2007. The increase in July was mostly the result of advances in multi-family dwelling permits in Ontario.

It was the third consecutive monthly increase in permits, which rose in six provinces, led by Ontario. The largest decline occurred in Quebec, where building intentions fell in the non-residential sector following gains the previous three months.

In the residential sector, the value of permits nationally increased 14.6% to $4.3 billion, the third consecutive monthly gain and the highest level since December 2005. Ontario accounted for most of the advance.

After two consecutive monthly increases, permits in the non-residential sector decreased 4.5% to $2.7 billion. Declines in Quebec and Manitoba were partially offset by advances in the eight other provinces.

Residential sector: Increase in intentions for multi-family dwellings in Ontario

Municipalities issued $2.0 billion in building permits for multiple-family dwellings in July, up 30.4%, following a small decline in June. Permit values rose in six provinces, with Ontario accounting for most of the increase.

Intentions for single-family dwellings increased 3.4% to $2.3 billion, the second consecutive monthly advance. The largest gains were in Alberta and Ontario. Single-family construction intentions fell in six provinces.

Municipalities across Canada approved 21,022 new dwellings, up 22.0% from June. The gain was the result of a 36.1% increase in multi-family dwellings to 13,913 units. The number of single-family dwellings rose 1.5% to 7,109 units.

Non-residential sector: Decrease in the industrial component

In the industrial component, the value of permits declined 40.1% in July to $368 million, following a large increase in June. The decline was mostly a result of lower construction intentions for utility buildings and transportation facilities in Ontario and for manufacturing plants in Quebec. Industrial intentions fell in four provinces, led by Ontario and Quebec.

In the institutional component, construction intentions rose 17.1% to $758 million in July, the third consecutive monthly increase. Intentions were up in four provinces, led by permits for educational facilities in Ontario and Saskatchewan.

In the commercial component, the value of permits remained largely unchanged at $1.6 billion, following a 16.0% decline in June. Gains in seven provinces were offset by declines in Quebec, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island.
Ontario posts the biggest gain

The total value of building permits increased in six provinces in July.

Ontario posted the largest increase, its third consecutive month of gains. The increase was mostly attributable to higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings and, to a lesser extent, commercial and institutional permits.

Alberta posted the second highest increase in July, where the result came mostly from gains in single-family dwellings and commercial permits.

The largest decrease in the value of building permits was in Quebec, following two months of gains. Declines occurred in all three non-residential components.
Strong intentions in Ottawa and Toronto

The total value of permits increased in 16 of the 34 census metropolitan areas in July.

The largest increases occurred in Ottawa and Toronto. In Ottawa, the value of building permits quadrupled from the previous month. The increase came from a record-high level of multi-family permits. Most of the increase in Toronto originated from multi-family dwellings and institutional permits.

The largest declines occurred in Montréal, London and Calgary. The declines in Montréal and Calgary came primarily from permits for commercial buildings, while in London the main factor was a decline in institutional permits.

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