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Building permits jump

Building permits jump

Posted on: 11/9/2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Even though building activity in Alberta’s non-residential sector has slowed, overall, activity has been stable. In September, the total value of permits issued by Alberta towns and cities equalled $1.3 billion, an increase of about 15 per cent from August. Compared to the same time last year, total building permits in Alberta are up by 12 per cent.

The residential sector as a whole totalled $704 million in September. Even though permits fell nearly 10 per cent from August, permits are up from the same month last year. What’s more is that September’s total was nearly $10 million above this year’s residential permit average which proves that Alberta’s residential sector is strong.

What was most surprising was that non-residential construction intentions grew strongly and reached the highest total of 2017. The non-residential sector saw $617 million worth of permits issued in September, nearly double August’s total. Permits for both industrial and governmental and institutional buildings helped lift non-residential activity. The category of institutional and governmental buildings grew two-fold from August to September because of a high-value permit for a new hospital in the province.

Permits for office towers and business malls experienced losses over the course of the month (-11.3 per cent) and are still down significantly from where they were at the same time last year (-21.2 per cent).

As we head into 2018, building activity may begin to wane. It’s true that construction activity cannot be reliant on residential and governmental and institutional buildings alone. That means that as a whole, construction activity in the province is expected to be softer over the next couple of years.

Building permits, graph

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