Last hurrah for residential building permits?

Statistics Canada says the gain was “largely the result of higher construction intentions for institutional buildings in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, and for multi-family dwellings in British Columbia.”

The value of residential building permits increased 8.5% to $4.1 billion, following four consecutive monthly declines including a 4.4% drop in April. British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta issued the majority of these permits.

Intentions to build multi-family units rose the most with a 17.7% increase to 1.8 billion. The number of units approved was an even bigger jump with 11,801 units approved nationwide, a 22% increase over April. Comparatively 6,881 single-family dwellings were authorized, which is just a 0.9% increase.

Non-residential construction intentions in May rose 6.0% to $2.9 billion after a 7.0% decline the previous month. The increase was the result of higher construction intentions in six provinces, led by Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

It was institutional builds in these two provinces as well as Alberta that drove the increase with the value of permits for medical facilities, government buildings and educational institutions being driven to $945 million, an increase of 69.4% over April, when figures fell 42.7%.

Calgary, Thunder Bay and Montréal posted the biggest declines. In Calgary, the decrease came from commercial buildings and, to a lesser degree, institutional buildings.

In Thunder Bay, the decline was attributable to institutional buildings, which had recorded a significant increase in the previous month. Lower construction intentions for commercial, industrial and residential buildings were behind the decline in Montréal.

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