Value of building permits issued down 21.2 per cent in August: StatsCan

OTTAWA – The pace of building permits came back down to earth in August after soaring in July, according to the latest data compiled by Statistics Canada.

The federal agency said Monday that municipalities issued $6.3 billion worth of building permits in August, down 21.2 per cent from July.

CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld said the plunge essentially reversed a 21.4 per cent gain in July.

“Canadian building permits go up and down faster than the cranes on the Toronto skyline, so after a huge gain in July, its not really a stunner to see an equally large drop in August,” Shenfeld said.

“Averaging the past two months together, the trend still looks slightly positive, with permits in the latter half of the year better than where we were during a dip seen in November-March.”

The drop came as a result of weaker construction intentions in both the non-residential and residential sectors.

Statistics Canada said with the decline, the trend in the value of building permits has become relatively flat since the beginning of 2013.

With the exception of British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador, every province registered declines in August with Ontario, Alberta and Quebec posting the largest drops.

In the non-residential sector, the total value of building permits fell 37.9 per cent to $2.4 billion in August, its lowest level since February 2013.

The value of permits in the residential sector decreased 5.4 per cent to $3.9 billion in August.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.