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StatsCan building permits report: February 2021


April 28, 2021
By StastCan

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The total value of building permits issued in February broke the $10 billion mark for the first time, as a jump in the non-residential sector more than offset the decline in the residential sector.

Residential gains in British Columbia not enough to offset declines in Ontario and Alberta
Residential construction intentions decreased 2.9% to $6.8 billion in February, following a record month in January.

In British Columbia, several high-value permits were issued for multi-family dwellings (+59.2%), including two for the University District condo development in the city of Surrey. However, declines in six provinces, including Ontario (-23.9%) and Alberta (-39.2%), pulled this component lower at the national level, with the total dropping 4.9% to $3.3 billion.

Building permits for single-family homes dipped 1.0% to $3.5 billion, although they remained at historically high levels, with Ontario ($1.5 billion) and Prince Edward Island ($29.1 million) reporting record highs. This marked the third consecutive month of record-setting numbers for Ontario, while the building permits in Prince Edward Island were close to double the values typically observed prior to the pandemic.

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From January 2018 to the end of 2020, the value for multi-family dwellings had exceeded that of single-family homes. However, shortly after the start of the pandemic, the gap between these two components steadily closed. By January 2021, the value of permits for single-family homes had once again surpassed that of multi-family dwellings and continued to do so in February.