Canada: Building permits, October 2016

Municipalities issued $7.6 billion worth of building permits in October, up 8.7% from September. Higher construction intentions for commercial structures and residential dwellings in Alberta were responsible for much of the gain, as builders filed permits in advance of the changes in the provincial Building Code.

The value of residential building permits rose 7.7% to $5.2 billion in October. This was the third consecutive monthly increase. Advances were posted in eight provinces, led by Alberta and followed by British Columbia and Ontario.

Construction intentions for non-residential buildings increased 10.7% to $2.5 billion in October, following a 21.4% drop in September. Gains were registered in eight provinces, led by Alberta. Quebec and Manitoba reported declines in the non-residential sector.

Residential sector: Single-family dwellings post the largest gain

The value of permits for single-family dwellings rose 7.7% to $2.8 billion in October, a third consecutive monthly increase. The advance mainly stemmed from higher construction intentions in Alberta and Ontario.

In the multi-family dwelling component, $2.3 billion worth of permits were issued in October, up 7.7% from September. This was the highest value for this component since October 2015. Seven provinces reported gains, led by Alberta and British Columbia.

Municipalities approved the construction of 19,116 new dwellings in October, up 7.9% from the previous month. The increase was led by single-family dwellings, up 11.8% to 6,819 new units. Multi-family dwellings advanced 5.9% to 12,297 new units.

Non-residential: Gain attributable to higher commercial building intentions

The value of permits in the commercial component rose 29.3% to $1.6 billion in October. Higher construction intentions for hotels, office buildings and retail complexes were mostly responsible for the increase. Seven provinces recorded gains, led by Alberta and distantly followed by Ontario.

In the industrial component, the value of permits fell 3.5% to $348 million in October. This was the second consecutive monthly decline. The drop was largely the result of lower construction intentions for primary industry buildings. Six provinces posted decreases, led by British Columbia and Ontario.

The value of institutional building permits fell 17.5% to $527 million in October. Lower construction intentions for nursing homes and educational institutions accounted for the majority of the decrease. Declines were posted in five provinces, most notably Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. Nova Scotia recorded the largest gain in this component.

Provinces: Alberta posts the largest advance

Higher construction intentions were posted in every province except Quebec in October. Alberta led the increase, followed by British Columbia and Ontario.

In Alberta, the value of building permits rose 40.4% to $1.8 billion in October. The gain stemmed from higher construction intentions for commercial buildings, single-family and multi-family dwellings. The increase in building permits in October was largely attributable to the end of the transition period for the implementation of the 2011 National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings and the “Energy Efficiency” section of the 2014 Alberta Building Code.

Municipalities in British Columbia issued $1.1 billion worth of permits in October, up 7.2% from the previous month. Higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings and commercial buildings led the advance.

In Ontario, the value of permits increased 1.9% to $3.1 billion in October, the third gain in four months. The advance was attributable to higher construction intentions for commercial buildings and single-family dwellings.

Conversely, the value of building permits in Quebec fell 6.6% to $1.1 billion in October. Every component except single-family dwellings posted a decrease. Lower construction intentions for commercial buildings led the decline, followed by institutional structures.

Higher construction intentions in half of the census metropolitan areas

In October, the total value of building permits was up in 17 of the 34 census metropolitan areas. The largest increases were in Toronto and Calgary.

The value of building permits in Toronto rose 24.9% in October to $1.8 billion. Higher construction intentions for single-family dwellings and commercial buildings were largely responsible for the gain.

In Calgary, the value of building permits increased 60.9% in October to $923 million. While every component posted gains, higher construction intentions for commercial buildings and multi-family dwellings led the advance.

In contrast, the value of building permits in Hamilton fell 56.9% in October to $110 million, following a notable gain in September. The decline was mainly attributable to lower construction intentions for multi-family and single-family dwellings.


This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

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