Canada: Building permits, February 2018

Canadian municipalities issued $8.2 billion in building permits in February (-2.6%), following a 5.2% gain in January. Single-family homes as well as the commercial and institutional components saw lower levels of construction intentions in February.

Residential sector: The value of permits for single-family dwellings declines

The value of permits for single-family dwellings decreased 1.6% (-$41.3 million) in February, largely due to Ontario where intentions fell 6.9% (-$84.2 million) compared with January. The census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Toronto (-13.6% or -$67.1 million) and Oshawa (-64.7% or -$65.7 million) posted the largest declines.

Nationally, the value of multi-family dwellings rose 1.0%. Six provinces posted increases in February, led by Alberta. The value of permits for multi-family dwellings in Alberta rose 46.9% (+$108.6 million), nearly offsetting the 19.0% (-$109.3 million) decline in Quebec. Despite a 4.2% decline in the province of British Columbia, the value of multi-family dwelling permits in the CMA of Vancouver rose 4.2% to $548.6 million. Construction intentions for multi-family dwellings in Vancouver remained strong, posting a value above $500 million for the third consecutive month.

Non-residential sector: Declines in commercial and institutional components

Municipalities issued $2.9 billion worth of building permits for non-residential structures in February, down 6.6% from January. The decline in the value of permits for the commercial and institutional components more than offset the increase in the industrial component.

The commercial component fell 8.7% to $1.5 billion in February, following an 8.3% increase in January. Eight provinces posted declines. British Columbia reported the largest decrease (-20.2%) following a strong January.

Following a 19.2% gain in January, the institutional component decreased 9.7% to $754.3 million in February, primarily stemming from lower construction intentions in Quebec, specifically in the CMA of Montréal. Leading up to this decline, multiple permits for educational structures pushed the January value for the CMA of Montréal to $158.6 million, the highest value since August 2016.

The value of building permits issued for industrial structures increased 4.8% to $575.0 million in February, following a 19.5% decline in January. Quebec posted the largest increase, followed distantly by Newfoundland and Labrador.

Provinces: Intentions down in Quebec and Ontario following gains in January

The total value of building permits decreased in six provinces in February. The largest declines were in Quebec and Ontario, while Alberta reported the largest increase followed by Manitoba.

The value of building permits declined in Quebec in February following two monthly increases. Every component except the industrial component and single-family dwellings declined. The value of permits for multi-family dwellings posted the largest decline (-$109.3 million), stemming mainly from apartment building intentions for the CMA of Montréal.

The value of building permits declined 3.2% in Ontario to $3.3 billion in February, following a strong January (+12.1%). Every component was down except the industrial component and multi-family dwellings. The value of permits for single-family dwellings posted the largest decline (-$84.2 million or -6.9%).

Alberta reported an increase in every building component in February except for commercial and industrial structures. The residential sector rose by 20.5% to $838.9 million in February, primarily a result of higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings.


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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