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Single-family homes buck down trend: StatCan December 2023 building permits

February 8, 2024  By Statistics Canada

The total value of building permits in Canada decreased 14.0% from November to $9.2 billion in December, the lowest monthly level since October 2020. Declines were recorded in both the residential and non-residential sectors. On a constant dollar basis (2017=100), the total value of building permits declined 14.2% to $5.8 billion in December.

The total value of residential permits fell 17.9% to $5.7 billion in December, driven by a significant decline in multi-unit construction intentions (-31.1%; -$1.3 billion), the largest monthly drop in the series. The decline in value of multi-unit permits in Ontario (-45.2%; -$816.8 million) greatly contributed to the overall monthly decrease in the residential sector in December.

Meanwhile, construction intentions in single-family dwellings edged up 0.8% to $2.9 billion in December. The gain in Alberta (+15.3%; +$84.4 million) more than offset declines in seven provinces as construction intentions for Albertan single-family dwellings recorded a fifth consecutive monthly increase and the largest monthly value since January 2014.

The total value of building permits in the fourth quarter of 2023 was $31.3 billion, down 9.0% from the previous quarter, and down 1.7% from the fourth quarter of 2022. The total value of building permits in the fourth quarter of 2023 was the lowest quarterly level reported since the third quarter of 2021 ($30.8 billion).


Both non-residential (-13.3% to $11.6 billion) and residential (-6.3% to $19.7 billion) building permit values decreased from the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2023. The single-family dwellings component was the only component to post a quarterly increase (+1.4% to $8.5 billion) in the fourth quarter, building on an increase of 9.8% in the third quarter. Similarly, there was a 2.9% increase in dwelling units authorized for single-family dwellings across Canada in the fourth quarter.

Most notably, the value of permits for single-family dwellings in Alberta grew 23.4% to $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter, marking the third quarterly increase in a row. The fourth quarter also marked the third consecutive quarterly increase in new dwelling units issued for the province, up 21.9% to 4,000 new units.

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