Statistics Canada Releases Repots on Building Permits for January 2020  

The total value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities increased 4.0% to $9.2 billion in January. Increases were reported in six provinces, led by British Columbia (+52.1% to $2.2 billion). 

Change in Vancouver’s development costs drives growth in British Columbia and nationally 

The majority of January’s national increase in the value of building permits was in British Columbia (+$751 million), largely due to the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Vancouver. The value of permits increased in the CMA of Vancouver by 81.8%, prior to increases in development fees, which came into effect on January 15. Meanwhile, Quebec (-$366 million) and Ontario (-$161 million) reported the largest provincial declines after strong activity in December 2019. 

Value of residential permits up for multi- and single-family dwellings

The residential sector reported strong gains in January, increasing 12.7% from December 2019 to $5.8 billion. Permits for multi-family dwellings were up 17.1% to $3.4 billion in January, largely due to multiple projects in the CMA of Vancouver. The total value of permits for single-family dwellings increased 7.0% to $2.4 billion, mainly due to housing developments in Ontario (+$105 million) and Quebec (+$48 million). The CMA of Brantford reported the largest increase in the value of permits for single-family dwellings (+340.9% to $41 million), a record high for the CMA.

Non-residential sector down due to institutional permits

The value of non-residential permits was down 7.8% to $3.5 billion in January. This decrease was largely due to a decline in the total value of institutional permits (-30.5% to $732 million) following strong gains in December 2019. Despite increases in seven provinces, the value of commercial permits decreased 0.8% to $2.1 billion, with Quebec reporting the largest decline (-$249 million). The value of industrial permits offset some of the non-residential decline, rising 6.8% to $682 million, led by Ontario (+$90 million).

Source: Statistics Canada


Canadian Housing Starts Declined in February 2020  

The trend in housing starts was 208,525 units in February 2020, compared to 211,153 units in January 2020, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.

“The national trend in housing starts declined in February, driven by lower-trending multi-unit starts.” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “Single and multi-unit starts in Toronto both trended lower, while activity in Montréal declined due to lower-trending multi-unit starts. This offset a slight up-tick in Vancouver, which follows four consecutive declines in that CMA.”

CMHC uses the trend measure as a complement to the monthly SAAR of housing starts to account for considerable swings in monthly estimates and obtain a more complete picture of Canada’s housing market. In some situations, analyzing only SAAR data can be misleading, as they are largely driven by the multi-unit segment of the market which can vary significantly from one month to the next.

The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 210,069 units in February, a decrease of 1.9% from 214,031 units in January. The SAAR of urban starts also decreased by 1.9% in February to 199,304 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 6.1% to 146,072 units in February while single-detached urban starts increased by 11.9% to 53,232 units. 

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 10,765 units.

Source: CMHC