Canadian building permits falter in August but British Columbia bucked the trend

housing starts

According to the August numbers from Statistics Canada, most Canadian provinces are taking a breather from the building spree that went on in July. Municipalities issued $6.3 billion worth of building permits in August, down 21.2 per cent from the month before. Year-over-year, the value of building permits issued dropped by 15.2 per cent.

Despite the record-breaking July, the ups and downs over the course of the year have largely canceled each other out, pointing to a relatively flat trend for the value of building permits issued in 2013.

August’s dip reflects less activity in both the residential and non-residential markets. The biggest hit was in the non-residential sector with Canada seeing a month-to-month drop of 37.9 per cent in the value of permits. The residential sector saw a 5.4 per cent decline.

British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador bucked the trend with a 2.9 per cent and 3 per cent increase from July to August respectively. Every other province saw a decline in permit dollars, with Ontario (31.5 per cent), Quebec (20.4 per cent) and Alberta (20.1 per cent) leading the drop.

In Ontario, the decrease was mostly felt for commercial and institutional buildings, as well as multi-family dwellings. In Alberta, the decline was mostly due to fewer intentions for commercial buildings, while in Quebec, it was a mix of commercial buildings and multi-family dwellings.

In the residential sector, permits for multi-family dwellings decreased 8.3 per cent to $1.7 billion in August, the third monthly decline this year. Declines were reported in half of the provinces, led by Ontario and followed by Quebec. British Columbia saw the biggest uptick followed by Saskatchewan.

Single-family home construction also fell with a 3 per cent drop in values in August. This was the second month in a row to see a decline. Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba accounted for most of the declines.

Canadian cities approved the construction of 17,471 new dwellings in August, down 0.7 per cent from the month before. The decline was largely due to fewer intentions for single-family dwellings (down 3.4 per cent to 6,087 dwellings), which offset the boost in multi-family dwellings (up 0.8 per cent to 11,384 units).

In August, the total value of permits was down in 22 of the 34 census metropolitan areas. The largest declines were felt in Toronto, followed by Calgary and Montreal. In Toronto, the decrease was largely due to a decline commercial buildings, institutional structures and multi-family dwellings. Lower intentions for commercial and institutional buildings were behind the drop in Calgary while Montreal saw less interest in the building of commercial and residential buildings.

Vancouver saw the largest increase in August, followed by Kelowna and Regina. In Vancouver, multi-family dwellings and commercial buildings were responsible for the boost, while in Kelowna and Regina, institutional and residential buildings led to the gains.

For more information check out the tables below:

August Building permits Canada

Statistics Canada building permits

Photo: srv007/Flickr