April Building Permits Plummet

The total value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities plummeted 17.1 per cent to $6 billion in April, says Statistics Canada. The decrease was the largest decline since a similar drop in October 2008 during the financial crisis. When combined with the March decline, the value of building permits has fallen by 28.1 per cent from February levels. Declines were reported in eight provinces, with the largest in Quebec (-34.1 per cent) and Ontario (-20 per cent). Although most municipalities were still issuing permits in April, Quebec's decision to shut down non-essential construction activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to it posting its largest month-over-month percentage decline on record. Permits issued for single family dwellings fell 35.9 per cent to $1.4 billion, a record month-over-month decline and almost double the next largest decrease since 2002. Multi-family dwellings was the only component to show an increase at the national level in April, up 4.8 per cent to $2.6 billion. The value of commercial permits was down 21.5 per cent to $1.2 billion for the month.