Canada: Building permits, July 2016

Municipalities issued building permits worth $6.5 billion in July, up 0.8% from the previous month. The advance was largely the result of higher construction intentions for institutional and industrial buildings. Ontario and Alberta led the national increase.

In the non-residential sector, the value of building permits advanced 5.6% to $2.4 billion. The gain followed two consecutive months of declines. Increases were reported in four provinces, most notably Ontario.

The value of residential building permits was down 2.0% to $4.0 billion in July, the fourth consecutive monthly decrease. Lower construction intentions were posted in five provinces, with British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec leading the decline.

Non-residential sector: Higher construction intentions in all components

In July, all three non-residential components posted higher construction intentions, with institutional structures leading the advance, followed by industrial buildings.

The value of permits for institutional buildings rose 9.6% to $740 million in July, the third increase in four months. The advance was largely the result of higher construction intentions for medical facilities and, to a lesser extent, retirement residences. Gains in Ontario offset declines observed in six provinces, led by Saskatchewan.

In the industrial component, the value of permits advanced 17.1% to $418 million, following five consecutive monthly declines. The increase stemmed from higher construction intentions for transportation terminals and, to a lesser degree, maintenance-related buildings. The value of building permits was up in four provinces, most notably Ontario, followed by Alberta and Manitoba.

The value of commercial building permits edged up 0.3% to $1.3 billion in July. Higher construction intentions for office buildings and retail complexes were mostly responsible for the gain. Increases were registered in seven provinces, with Ontario reporting the largest advance.

Residential sector: Single-family dwellings report the largest decline

The value of permits for single-family dwellings declined 3.0% to $2.4 billion in July, following a 4.8% increase in June. Every province, except Nova Scotia and Manitoba, posted a decrease. The largest drop was reported in Ontario, followed by British Columbia and Alberta.

Construction intentions for multi-family dwellings edged down 0.4% to $1.7 billion in July, the fifth decline since the beginning of 2016. The value of permits was down in four provinces, with British Columbia and Quebec reporting the largest decreases.

Municipalities approved the construction of 15,388 new dwellings in July, 2.2% more than in June, when the number of new units approved was at its lowest since December 2012. The advance in July was attributable to multi-family dwellings, up 3.9% to 9,652 new units. In contrast, the number of single-family homes declined 0.5% to 5,736 new dwellings.

Provinces: Ontario posts the largest increase

In July, higher construction intentions were reported in four provinces, led by Ontario, followed by Alberta and Manitoba.

The value of building permits in Ontario was up 11.1% to $2.8 billion, following an 8.2% decline in June. The gain was attributable to higher construction intentions for non-residential buildings, led by institutional structures, followed by commercial and industrial buildings. The advance was moderated by a 2.6% decrease in the value of residential dwelling permits.

Following two consecutive monthly declines, the value of building permits in Alberta rose 7.4% to $951 million in July. All components were up, except single-family dwellings. The gain was largely the result of higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings and industrial buildings.

In Manitoba, the value of building permits increased 17.6% to $230 million. Every component registered a gain, led by industrial buildings and multi-family dwellings.

Conversely, Saskatchewan and Quebec posted the largest declines. In Saskatchewan, the value of building permits was down 44.3%, offsetting the notable advance in June. In Quebec, the 10.1% drop followed two consecutive monthly increases.

Census metropolitan areas: Toronto registers the most significant advance
In July, the value of building permits was up in 14 of the 34 census metropolitan areas. The largest increases were registered in Toronto and Ottawa.

In Toronto, the value of permits rose 18.5% to $1.5 billion. Every component, except single-family dwellings, posted a gain. Higher construction intentions for institutional and commercial buildings were largely responsible for the advance.

The value of building permits in Ottawa was up 58.0% to $339.4 million in July, a second consecutive monthly increase. While every component registered a gain, higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings led the advance.

In contrast, Saskatoon recorded the largest decrease (-68.1%), following three consecutive monthly increases. While lower construction intentions were reported for all components, institutional buildings accounted for most of the decline.

Dean Popplewell

Dean Popplewell

Vice-President of Market Analysis at MarketPulse
Dean Popplewell has nearly two decades of experience trading currencies and fixed income instruments. He has a deep understanding of market fundamentals and the impact of global events on capital markets. He is respected among professional traders for his skilled analysis and career history as global head of trading for firms such as Scotia Capital and BMO Nesbitt Burns. Since joining OANDA in 2006, Dean has played an instrumental role in driving awareness of the forex market as an emerging asset class for retail investors, as well as providing expert counsel to a number of internal teams on how to best serve clients and industry stakeholders.
Dean Popplewell