Value of Canadian building permits declines 4.1 percent in December, down 2.3 percent in 2020

Thursday, 28 January 2021 20:25:31 (GMT+3)   |   San Diego

According to Statistics Canada, the total value of building permits decreased 4.1 percent to $9.1 billion in December, following a month during which several high value permits were issued. Declines were reported in every component except single-family dwellings. Gains in seven provinces, led by Newfoundland and Labrador, were largely offset by a significant decrease in Ontario (-13.2 percent).

All three non-residential components—commercial (-9.0 percent), industrial (-24.4 percent) and institutional (-6.1 percent) buildings—reported declines as the overall sector fell 10.8 percent to $2.7 billion in December.

Single-family homes rose 7.0 percent to $3.1 billion, surpassing the previous record of $2.9 billion set in October 2016. Six provinces posted gains in this component, led by Ontario (+6.8 percent) and Quebec (+11.1 percent). The rise in Ontario was mainly due to the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Toronto (+51.9 percent), while the gains in Quebec were largely due to municipalities outside of CMAs.

The national value for multi-family dwellings declined 7.2 percent to $3.3 billion, largely because of a 12.8 percent drop in Ontario. Four other provinces also reporting a decrease in this component.

Overall, the residential sector edged down 0.9 percent to $6.4 billion after posting a record setting month in November.

On a full-year 2020 basis, the total value of building permits declined 2.3 percent in 2020, despite a rebound in the second half of the year. This was the largest annual decrease since the recession in 2009.

The residential and non-residential sectors reversed directions in 2020 as the residential sector posted a record high $66.7 billion, up 7.3 percent, despite the low values reported in the early spring. In the residential sector, gains in Ontario and Quebec were more than enough to offset the declines in British Columbia. New construction led most of the growth (+9.1 percent), while permitted renovations dropped 5.0 percent, largely as a result of fewer projects for multi-family dwellings.

The value of permits for single-family homes rose 8.0 percent in 2020 to its fifth highest annual value on record ($28.7 billion). The value of multi-family dwelling permits continued the upward trend observed over the past 10 years, increasing 6.8 percent to a record high of $38.0 billion. Typically associated with larger yards and interior space compared with other multi-family ownership properties such as condos (-4.4 percent), semi-detached homes (+24.2 percent) were one of the two categories of multi-family dwellings to record a notable gain in 2020.

Overall, the non-residential sector posted the largest decline since 2009, down 17.0 percent to $33.8 billion—the lowest value in four years. All components were down in 2020, with the commercial component setting a record drop of 21.2 percent and reaching its lowest level since 2017.

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