HPAC Magazine

Building Permits up 11% across country in March

May 10, 2023 | By HPAC Magazine

The total monthly value of non-residential permits increased 32% to a record-high $5.2 billion.

The total monthly value of building permits in Canada grew by 11.3%  month-over-month in March to $11.8 billion, led by sharply increasing monthly non-residential growth (+32.0%).

Non-residential permits reach record high

The total monthly value of non-residential  (ICI) permits increased 32% to a record-high $5.2 billion, with 10 individual non-residential projects valued at over $100 million each.

The largest project of the month was the $570 million new General Motors and POSCO Chemical cathode active materials facility in Bécancour, Quebec, which led the value of building permits in the industrial component to sharply increase by 16.7% nationally. This project is linked to the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy, for which further major investments in industrial projects are anticipated.

Commercial (+41.5%) and institutional (+29.5%) construction intentions also posted significant monthly gains to support a record-high month for the non-residential sector.

Residential construction intentions remain flat

Following a promising February, March saw the value of new residential permits taper off (-0.9%) to $6.6 billion. Nationally, permits for 21,400 new dwellings were issued in the month.

British Columbia continued to increase with construction intentions (values up +30.9% or + $321.9 million) in March, concentrated in metropolitan high-rise multi-dwelling developments.

The four Atlantic provinces collectively also had monthly gains in multi-dwelling (+40.6% or +$48.1 million) and total residential (+14.0% or +$39.5 million) permit values.

These gains were offset nationally by declines in five provinces: Ontario (-8.1% or -$246.6 million) weighed down the sector the most by dollar value, while Saskatchewan (-27% or -$12.7 million) posted the largest proportional decline of the month.

Q1 led by non-residential building permits

The total value of building permits in the first quarter of 2023 gained 4.8% from the last quarter of 2022 to $32.4 billion, ending three consecutive quarterly declines.

The commercial component (+17.2%) led the quarterly growth, much of which was from building permits issued in March.

Overall, the non-residential sector expanded 16.1% to a record-high $13.0 billion in the first quarter of 2023, greatly exceeding the previous quarterly record of $12.4 billion. This coincided with the Bank of Canada’s decision to pause interest rate hikes, the first reprieve since initial hikes started in March 2022.

However, this signalling is yet to be reflected in residential construction intentions, which declined 1.6% to $19.4 billion, sliding for the third consecutive quarter.

Declines in the value of residential permits were posted in six provinces which more than offset gains in Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Manitoba posted the most notable quarterly gains in both the value of residential permits (+27.5%) and the number of new dwelling units created (+58.7%).




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