Canada: Building permits, July 2018

Canadian municipalities issued $8.2 billion worth of building permits in July, down 0.1% from June. The decrease was mainly attributable to lower construction intentions in British Columbia.

Residential sector: Lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings

The value of permits for residential buildings edged down 0.3% to $5.3 billion in July. The decline was mainly the result of lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings, down 1.1% to $2.9 billion. The decrease in British Columbia (-$185 million) offset gains in seven provinces.

The value of building permits in the single-family component was up 0.6% to $2.4 billion. Four provinces registered increases, led by Ontario and Manitoba.

In July, municipalities approved the construction of 19,824 new dwellings (+1.2%), consisting of 14,660 multi-family units (+3.7%) and 5,164 single units (-5.2%).

Non-residential sector: Higher industrial construction intentions drive the increase

The value of non-residential permits edged up 0.2% to $2.9 billion in July, mainly due to higher construction intentions in Quebec. Increases in the industrial component more than offset the declines for commercial and institutional buildings.

In the industrial component, the value of permits rose 16.0% to $726 million, a third consecutive monthly increase. The gain stemmed from higher construction intentions for transportation terminals and communication buildings, specifically a $100 million permit for Radio Canada in Quebec.

The value of commercial permits fell 5.0% to $1.6 billion in July, mainly on lower construction intentions for hotels, warehouses and office buildings. Values were down in four provinces, with the largest declines in Alberta and Quebec.

Within the institutional component, municipalities issued $600 million worth of building permits in July, down 2.0% from June. Of the three provinces that registered decreases in this component, Ontario reported the largest drop. Lower construction intentions for secondary schools mainly contributed to the decline.

Provinces and census metropolitan areas: British Columbia registers largest decrease

The total value of building permits was down in five provinces, with British Columbia and Ontario recording the largest decreases. At the same time, the value of building permits rose in 19 of 36 census metropolitan areas (CMA), with Montréal and Ottawa reporting the largest gains.

In British Columbia, the value of building permits fell 11.0% to $1.4 billion. The decrease was mainly the result of lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings in the CMA of Vancouver, following a record high in June.

The value of permits in Ontario fell 2.4% to $3.3 billion in July. This followed three consecutive monthly increases. The value of building permits in the Toronto CMA fell 10.0% to $1.5 billion in July.

In contrast, the value of permits in the CMA of Ottawa rose 53.9% to $416 million, the second highest value on record. Permits for residential construction rose 61.3% compared with June, coinciding with an increase in development charges slated for August 1, 2018.

In Quebec, the value of building permits increased 14.7% to $1.7 billion in July. The industrial component posted the second-highest value on record, driven by a $100 million permit for a communication building in the CMA of Montréal.


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