Commercial buildings drive permit growth with 11-year high

by Steve Randall11 Jan 2019

Building permits issued by Canadian municipalities saw an increase in November, the latest month of data available.

But new homes are not the intention with residential permits declining 2.5% to $5.0 billion, while non-residential permits increased 3.3% to $3.3 billion.

The decline for home building intentions was seen across five provinces led by Ontario which posted an 8.1% decrease in single-family permits to $930 million – the lowest since January 2016 – and a $232 million decline in multifamily intentions.

Quebec saw the largest rise overall, including a $204 million gain for multifamily permits.

Single-family permits nationwide totaled $2.2 billion in November, a 5.5% decrease after increasing 4.7% the previous month. Multifamily permits totaled $2.9 billion, down 0.1% from October.

Municipalities approved the construction of 19,378 new dwellings (-3.1%), consisting of 4,725 single-family units (-7.0%) and 14,653 multi-family units (-1.8%).

Commercial buildings led the gains
In the non-residential sector, it was commercial properties that led the rise in permits.

This segment posted a 16.8% increase to $2.1 billion, the highest level since May 2007. Office buildings in the Vancouver and Quebec CMAs were the largest driver of this rise.

The value of industrial building permits rose 21.9% to $527 million in November, snapping three monthly declines. The increase was mainly attributable to permits for new agricultural buildings.

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