October 21, 2013
Multi-family residential construction leads B.C. permit charge
British Columbia had the largest increase in the value of building permits in Canada in August, while Alberta had one of the biggest declines.
“The largest increase occurred in British Columbia, where a rise in multi-family dwellings offset declines in the industrial and commercial components,” said a Statistics Canada report.
The report stated that the value of building permits increased by 2.9 per cent to $887 million in August from about $862.4 in July.
The increase in B.C. was concentrated in residential construction, where permit values jumped by 12.8 per cent in August to $598.4 million. On the non-residential side, permit values dropped by 13 per cent to $288.6 million.
Construction intentions in the Lower Mainland-Southwest region of B.C. followed this trend.
“Led by a rebound in commercial permits and strong residential values, building permits in the Lower Mainland-Southwest region rose 10 per cent in August, contrasting a 21 per cent drop nationwide,” said Fiona Famulak, president of the Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA).
“This was one of the few regions in Canada that registered a gain this month.”
The dollar value of building permits issued in the Lower Mainland-Southwest region increased by 10 per cent to $643.8 million compared to $587.8 million in July 2013.
Non-residential permits slipped three per cent to $170.1 million in August from $175.7 million in July.
An increase of 52 per cent in commercial permits to $129.1 million from $84.8 million was not enough to offset a decline of 47 per cent in institutional-government permits to $23.9 million, as well as a 63 per cent drop in industrial permits to $17.1 million.
In contrast, residential permit values increased 15 per cent to $473.7 million from $412.1 million during the same period.
In Alberta, the value of building permits fell by 20.1 per cent to $1.308 billion in August.
The decline was driven by non-residential construction, which dropped by 32.9 per cent in August to $552.6 million and residential construction which declined by 7.1 per cent to $755.9 million.
In the Vancouver area, the value of building permits increased by 13.6 per cent to $582.8 million in August, while Calgary fell by 35.6 per cent to $542.8 million and Edmonton fell by 19.1 per cent to $364.1 million.
Canadian municipalities issued building permits worth $6.3 billion in August, which represent a decline of 21.2 per cent from July.
This decline followed a 21.4 per cent increase the previous month and was the result of lower construction intentions in both non-residential and residential sectors.
In the non-residential sector, the total value of building permits fell 37.9 per cent to $2.4 billion in August, which is the lowest level since February 2013.
The total value of permits in the residential sector decreased 5.4 per cent to $3.9 billion in August compared to July.
Lower construction intentions were posted in six provinces with Ontario, Quebec and Alberta registering the largest decreases. British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island recorded increases.
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