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Building permits up for third consecutive month

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May 6, 2013 by Statistics Canada

Contractors took out building permits worth $6.5 billion in March, up 8.6 per cent from February and the third consecutive monthly advance. The March increase came mostly from the non-residential sector in Ontario and Alberta.

The value of non-residential building permits rose 19 per cent to $2.8 billion, a second consecutive monthly gain. Ontario and Alberta were behind most of the growth at the national level. Declines were recorded in four provinces, with Quebec and Manitoba posting the largest decreases.

In the institutional component, the value of permits more than doubled to $980 million in March, following a 28.1 per cent increase in February. This was the highest level since October 2012, when the value of permits exceeded the $1-billion mark.

Institutional construction intentions were up in six provinces, with the largest increases in construction permits for government buildings in Alberta as well as medical and educational buildings in Ontario.

In the industrial component, the value of permits rose 17.2 per cent to $472 million, a second consecutive monthly increase. This advance was the result of higher construction intentions for manufacturing plants in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, and for primary industry buildings in Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec. Gains were posted in seven provinces.

Following a 14.4 per cent advance in February, Canadian municipalities issued $1.4 billion worth of commercial building permits in March, down 9.6 per cent. The decline came from a variety of buildings, including recreational facilities, hotels and retail stores. Decreases occurred in six provinces, with Alberta posting the largest decline. In contrast, Ontario posted the largest gain, as a result of higher construction intentions for hotels, office buildings and warehouses.

In March, the total value of permits was up in 16 of the 34 census metropolitan areas.

The largest increases were in Toronto and Edmonton, with Saskatoon a distant third. In Toronto, the advance was largely attributable to commercial and institutional buildings. In Edmonton, the increase was primarily the result of higher construction intentions for institutional buildings. In Saskatoon, the value of permits was up for the third consecutive month in March, mostly because of institutional and industrial buildings.

In contrast, Montréal and Vancouver had the largest declines. In Montréal, construction intentions were down 17.8 per cent, falling below the $500 million mark for the first time since November 2011. All components except the commercial component contributed to the decline. In Vancouver, commercial and institutional buildings and single-family dwellings were responsible for the decline.

Source: Statistics Canada

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