StatsCan building permits report: February 2021
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.
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.