Municipalities issued $4.6 billion in building permits in December 2008.
Statscan - Building permits were down 3.9% from November 2008. This third consecutive monthly decline was the result of decreases in both the residential and non-residential sectors.
The value of residential permits declined by 3.2% to $2.6 billion, the ninth monthly decrease in 2008. Increases in multi-family permits in Ontario were not enough to offset the declines in single-family permits in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
The value of permits in the non-residential sector declined 4.9% to $2.0 billion, the third consecutive monthly decrease. This decrease came mainly from institutional permits in Alberta and commercial permits in British Columbia.
Construction intentions were down in five provinces and all three territories.
Residential sector: Six consecutive monthly declines for single-family permits
The value of single-family permits fell 10.8% to $1.6 billion in December, their sixth monthly decline in a row. The drop in December occurred mainly as a result of declines in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
After four consecutive monthly declines, the value of multi-family permits increased 10.6% to $1.1 billion. A significant increase (in dollars) in Ontario was enough to offset declines in seven provinces and three territories.
Municipalities approved 13,777 new dwellings in December, a number similar to the previous month. Of these, single-family units were down 9.4% to 6,030, while multi-family units were up 9.3% to 7,747.
Non-residential: Industrial component tempers overall decline
In the industrial component, the value of permits increased to $419 million, up 30.4% from November. This followed two months of double-digit declines. The increase resulted mostly from construction intentions for manufacturing buildings in Quebec.
The gain in industrial permits tempered declines in the other two components.
In the institutional component, intentions fell 16.8% to $501 million, the third consecutive monthly decline. Increases in eight provinces were offset by a significant decrease in Alberta, the result of lower intentions for medical projects.
In the commercial component, the value of permits fell 8.5% to $1.1 billion, a third consecutive monthly decline. December's decrease came mainly from lower demand for recreation and warehouse building permits in British Columbia.
Provinces: Most significant declines in Alberta and British Columbia
The most significant decreases in December occurred in Alberta and British Columbia. In Alberta, the value of permits fell 27.0% to $761 million, as a result of declines in all components of the residential and non-residential sectors.
In British Columbia, permit values declined 40.9% to $358 million as a result of decreases in the residential sector and the commercial component.
In contrast, Ontario reported increases in total permit values, mainly a result of gains in multiple-family permits and in all three components of the non-residential sector.
Quebec also reported an increase, the result of higher values in non-residential components and single-family permits.
Declines in most census metropolitan areas
The total value of permits declined in 21 out of the 34 census metropolitan areas in December. The largest declines (in dollars) occurred in Calgary, Vancouver and Ottawa, as all three experienced decreases in both residential and non-residential construction intentions.
In Toronto, the increase came from the residential sector where the value has tripled for multiple-family permits.
Note to readers
Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted data, which eases comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations.
The Building Permits Survey covers 2,400 municipalities representing 95% of the population. It provides an early indication of building activity. The communities representing the other 5% of the population are very small, and their levels of building activity have little impact on the total.
The value of planned construction activities shown in this release excludes engineering projects (e.g., waterworks, sewers or culverts) and land.
For the purpose of this release, the census metropolitan area of OttawaGatineau (Ontario/Quebec) is divided into two areas: Gatineau part and Ottawa part.