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Building permits jump 4.7 per cent in March


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May 7, 2012 by Andrew Snook

According to a recent report by Statistics Canada, increased construction intentions in institutional and commercial buildings helped push building permit values up to $6.8 billion in March, up 4.7 per cent from February.

The non-residential sector was up 13.9 per cent to $2.9 billion in March, following a 37.7-per cent increase the previous month.

The sector was led by an 88.4-per cent increase in the institutional sector, up to $973 million, which followed a 64.6-per cent increase in February.

Ontario led the gains with higher construction intentions for government buildings and medical facilities, while New Brunswick and Saskatchewan also experienced increased intentions for government buildings.

In the commercial building sector, permit values jumped 15.3 per cent to $1.5 billion in March, following a 5.7-per cent increase in February.

Higher construction intentions across seven provinces fuelled the increase, led by Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador. Construction intentions stemmed from a variety of commercial building types, including: retail complexes, office buildings, warehouses, hotels and restaurants, and laboratories.

The increases experienced in the commercial and institutional components helped offset a 42.8-per cent decline in the industrial sector, down to $408 million in March, after nearly doubling in February.

The decrease was largely fuelled by drops in construction intentions for manufacturing plants in B.C, Quebec and Ontario.

The residential sector permits experienced its third consecutive monthly decline, dropping 1.3-per cent to $3.9 billion. Declines were led by Ontario, Alberta and Nova Scotia, with a total of six provinces experiencing decreases in construction intentions.

Overall, eight provinces experienced increases in building permit values. Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta had the three highest levels of increase respectively, while B.C. had the largest decline, mainly due to lower construction intentions for industrial and commercial buildings and multi-family dwellings. Quebec experienced decreases in building intentions for every component with the exception of single-family dwellings.

Out of Canada’s 34 census metropolitan areas, 23 areas experienced increases in overall permit values, with the largest occurring in Toronto, Ont., Winnipeg, Man. and St. John’s, Nfld.

Toronto and St. John’s increased building permit values were largely due to increased construction intentions for institutional and commercial buildings, while non-residential and residential building fuelled Winnipeg’s increase.

Montreal, Que. and Edmonton, Alta. experienced the largest declines.

A drop in construction intentions for multi-family dwellings led Montreal’s decline, while Edmonton experienced a decrease in building permit values for industrial buildings, institutional buildings and multi-family dwellings.

To view the full Statistics Canada report, click here.

Source: Statistics Canada


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