Residential Permits Continue Downtrend

The total value of building permits in Canada decreased 2.1 per cent to $9.7 billion in August, says Statistics Canada. Although most provinces reported increases, notable declines in Ontario and British Columbia pulled the national results lower compared with July. On a constant dollar basis, the total value of building permits fell 1.3 per cent. Residential permits decreased 8.3 per cent to $6.4 billion in August, the lowest level since March. Ontario and British Columbia drove most of the decline. Construction intentions for multi-family units fell 15.9 per cent, largely reflecting Ontario's decline (-24.3 per cent). In contrast, single family intentions were up slightly (+1.2 per cent), led by a 15.7 per cent gain in Quebec. Additionally, Newfoundland and Labrador (+0.7 per cent) reported the first provincial increase in this component after six consecutive monthly declines. Non-residential building permits rose 12.3 per cent to $3.3 billion, led by higher construction intentions in Quebec and Alberta. Commercial building permits were up 14.9 per cent nationally, institutional building permits were up 21.9 per cent, and industrial buildings were down 7.3 per cent.