Building Permits On Rise- Positive Outlook of Economy

The value of building permits rose 5.4% to $6.7 billion in April, following a 12.3% advance in March. Compared with April 2009, the value of building permits has increased by 48.2%. The gain in April was due to the non-residential sector, which more than offset the decline in the residential sector.

Building permits up 5.4 per cent in Canada  

The value of building permits across Canada rose by 5.4 per cent in May thanks to increases in commercial projects.
As the economy gains momentum the non-residential sector is picking up the slack as demand for retail, industrial and commercial space picks up, according to figures released by Statistics Canada Friday.
However, residential development was markedly down, another indication that the sector might be cooling off.
In the non-residential sector the value of permits rose for a third consecutive month in April, up 32.2 per cent to $2.8 billion.
The value of permits fell by 8 per cent from March to $3.9 billion, mostly due to declines in building of homes in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.
In the Toronto market, building permits were up by 17.4 per cent to $1.254 billion. But like the national picture, the increase was led by the commercial sector, where permits were up 119 per cent from March. Residential permits were down by 23 per cent. 

Total value of permits 

In the non-residential sector, the value of permits rose for a third consecutive month, up 32.2% to $2.8 billion. The increase was attributable to gains in both construction intentions for institutional buildings in six provinces and in commercial permits in seven provinces. 

In the residential sector, the value of permits fell 8.0% from March to $3.9 billion, mostly because of declines in single- and multi-family permits in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. 

The total value of permits was up in five provinces, led by Ontario, Nova Scotia and Alberta, while British Columbia recorded the steepest decline. 

Non-residential sector: Increases in both institutional and commercial components

The institutional component increased 70.0% to $882 million in April. The advance was largely a result of higher construction intentions for educational institutions in Ontario and medical buildings in Nova Scotia. 

Note to readers

Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted data, which eases comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations. 

The Building Permits Survey covers 2,400 municipalities representing 95% of the population. It provides an early indication of building activity. 

The communities representing the other 5% of the population are very small, and their levels of building activity have little impact on the total. 

The value of planned construction activities shown in this release excludes engineering projects (e.g., waterworks, sewers or culverts) and land. 

For the purpose of this release, the census metropolitan area of Ottawa–Gatineau (Ontario/Quebec) is divided into two areas: Gatineau part and Ottawa part. 


Preliminary data are provided for the current reference month. Revised data, based on late responses, are updated for the previous month. 

In the commercial component, the value of permits increased 29.1% to $1.5 billion. The advance was mostly attributable to construction intentions for office buildings and retail stores in Alberta and Ontario. 

Following three consecutive monthly increases, the value of industrial building permits declined 4.7% to $415 million in April. Alberta posted the largest decrease while Ontario recorded the biggest gain. 

Residential sector: Intentions down for single- and multi-family permits

The value of building permits for single-family dwellings decreased 6.0% in April to $2.6 billion, a result of declines in Quebec, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Following a strong gain in March, municipalities issued $1.3 billion in building permits for multi-family dwellings in April, down 11.7% from a month earlier. British Columbia was by far the province with the largest decrease in the value of multi-family permits, followed by Ontario and Quebec. 

Municipalities approved the construction of 18,089 new dwellings in April, down 7.3% from March. The decrease was due to an 8.2% decline in the number of multi-family dwellings to 9,237 and a 6.4% decline in the number of single-family dwellings to 8,852. 

Residential and non-residential sectors 

Increases seen in half the provinces

In April, the value of building permits was up in five provinces. 

Ontario, Nova Scotia and Alberta posted the largest advances. In Ontario, increases in all non-residential components more than offset the decline in residential components. Nova Scotia’s gain was attributable to both the institutional component and multi-family permits. In Alberta, the increase came from both the residential and non-residential sectors. 

British Columbia and Quebec posted the sharpest decreases. Following a strong advance in March, British Columbia showed the biggest drop in the residential and non-residential sectors. The lower value of permits in Quebec was due to the residential sector. 

Increases in half the census metropolitan areas

The total value of permits was up in 17 of the 34 census metropolitan areas. 

In Edmonton, the value of permits doubled as a result of gains in all residential and non-residential components. The value of permits rose in Toronto and in Windsor, mainly because of increases in all of the non-residential sector’s components. 

In contrast, Vancouver and Calgary posted the largest declines. Vancouver’s decrease was due to permits for multi-family dwellings and permits for institutional buildings. The decline in Calgary was attributable to all components in the non-residential sector. 

(The comments contained on this site are for information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.) 

If you have any questions/suggestion or require more information, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to assist you. 

Vijay Gandhi,
Sales Representative- REALTOR®,
RE/MAX Dynasty Realty Inc. Brokerage*
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