July building permits totalled $8 billion, up 20.7 per cent from June

OTTAWA – Statistics Canada reports that contractors took out building permits worth $8 billion in July, up 20.7 per cent from June — the sixth gain in seven months.

The July increase came mainly from higher construction intentions for commercial buildings in Ontario, Alberta and Quebec.

In the non-residential sector, the total value of building permits rose 45.5 per cent to $3.9 billion in July, with Ontario, Quebec and Alberta accounting for most of the increase.

Decreases in the non-residential sector were recorded in four provinces, led by New Brunswick, Statistics Canada reported Monday.

Municipalities issued $2.6 billion worth of commercial building permits in July, up 89.2 per cent from June as a result of higher construction intentions for a variety of buildings, including office buildings, retail complexes and recreational facilities.

The total value of industrial building permits rose 11.6 per cent to $505 million in July, after June experienced a 27.9 per cent decline.

“Although gains were posted in eight provinces, these failed to offset June’s decline. The increase was mainly the result of higher construction intentions for utilities buildings in Alberta and Quebec and for manufacturing plants in British Columbia and Ontario,” Statistics Canada said.

The value of permits in the residential sector increased 4.1 per cent to $4.1 billion in July following a 12.8 per cent decline in June.

The value of residential permits rose in five provinces, led largely by Quebec, followed by Alberta and Ontario. British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia accounted for most of the declines in July.

“Residential permits didn’t regain full vigour, rising 4.1 per cent after a 12.8 per cent drop in June. But non-residential permits recorded a massive gain, led by an 89 per cent rise in commercial permits, across most provinces, with industrial permits also up 11.6 per cent after a huge June drop,” said CIBC World Markets chief economist Avery Shenfeld in a commentary.

“Overall, this volatile series still seems to have an upward trend heading into Q3, suggesting that construction will still be a growth contributor in the near term.”