August Building Permits Rise

The total value of building permits rose 1.7 per cent to $8.1 billion in August, driven by an increase in the residential sector in Ontario and Quebec, says Statistics Canada. The total value of building permits rose 1.7 per cent to $8.1 billion in August. Permits issued for single family homes rose 9.9 per cent to $2.5 billion in August, continuing the upward trend observed since May. Eight provinces reported increases in this component, with Ontario accounting for more than half of the national gain, mostly due to permits issued in the census metropolitan areas of Toronto, Oshawa, and Brantford. Seven provinces showed a decline in the value of permits issued for multi-family dwellings in August, with British Columbia (-28.7 per cent) falling for a second month to $440 million. Excluding March, this was the lowest value reported for multi-family dwellings in British Columbia since March 2017. Commercial permits fell by 14.7 per cent to $1.4 billion in August, following a notable gain in July reflecting the half-billion dollar permit for Project Python in Ottawa. Overall, the total value of permits for commercial buildings was lower for January to August when compared with the same period in 2019. In particular, the unadjusted value of permits issued for office building renovations fell 14.1 per cent. This reflects changing priorities during the pandemic as many offices have closed or reduced on-site staff while more employees work from home.