Western Canada drives rise in building permits

by Steve Randall13 May 2019

Building permits issued by Canadian municipalities in March totaled $8.1 billion, a 2.1% rise from February, Statistics Canada has reported.

But the gain was dominated by an increase in Western Canada, especially British Columbia which jumped 12.8% month-over-month ($180 million) while provinces east of Manitoba declined. Ontario saw the largest decrease (1.4%) due to lower residential intentions.

The residential sector nationwide posted a decline overall of 1.5% month-over-month to a total of $5.257 billion, that’s 8.7% below the total in March 2018. The largest declines were in Ontario (-$102m) and Quebec (-$99m).

Single-family home permits declined 5% to $2.372 billion with Ontario dropping $58 million and leading the decreases across 7 provinces.

Multifamily intentions were up 1.3% with Manitoba and BC leading gains across 6 provinces.

Alberta posts lower permit issuance in Q1

First quarter permit issuance was lower in Alberta for each component compared to the same period of 2018.

The province’s $1 billion drop from a year earlier accounted for most of the overall net drop of $877 million nationwide, with five provinces posting declines.

More than half of Alberta’s large decrease was due to single-family permits (down $539 million), which fell to their lowest value since the first quarter of 2009.

Total Q1 2019 permits issuance was $24.3 billion, down 3.5% year-over-year.


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