The total value of building permits remained at historically high levels in April, edging down 0.5 per cent to $11.1 billion, following the record set in March, according to Statistics Canada.
The slight pullback was mainly due to declines in the residential sector in British Columbia and Québec, which outweighed national gains in the non-residential sector.
On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), building permits were largely unchanged (-0.0 per cent).
Residential sector remains strong despite decrease in April
In the residential sector, building permit value fell 6.7 per cent to $7.7 billion in April. Despite the decrease, this was the second highest value on record. British Columbia (-23.7 per cent) and Québec (-14.9 per cent) accounted for most of this decline.
The value of building permits for multi-family dwellings dropped 6.5 per cent to $4.1 billion. Gains in Ontario and Alberta were not enough to offset decreases in British Columbia and Québec, where several large permits were issued (in both provinces) during the previous month.
Eight provinces reported a decline in permit values issued for single-family dwellings, with the national total down 7 per cent to $3.6 billion, mainly as a result of fewer new projects in Ontario and Québec.
Commercial and institutional components boost the non-residential sector
Commercial permits surged 28.7 per cent to $1.9 billion in April. A $97-million permit for the Sick Kids patient support centre in Toronto and an $80-million permit for the Centennial Community and Aquatics Centre in New Westminster, B.C., were among several large permits issued in the month. In contrast, the largest commercial permit issued nationwide in March was valued at $43 million and was for a warehouse in Pickering, Ont.
The value of institutional permits increased 23.1 per cent to $910 million, led by Québec (+135.7 per cent), which rebounded from a 53.6 per cent drop the previous month. Québec issued numerous large permits in April, such as for a new hospital in Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu ($56 million) and for a new seniors’ care centre in Belœil ($43 million).
The industrial permit value fell 13.2 per cent in April to $592 million. Ontario (-36.5 per cent) accounted for most of the decrease, as fewer permits for large projects were issued in the province compared with the previous month.
Overall, the value of building permits in the non-residential sector climbed 17.4 per cent to $3.4 billion.