indicatorThe Owl

Annual building permit value down in Calgary, up in Edmonton

The value of building permits in Alberta was down by 8.0 per cent ($928.6 million) in 2020 compared to 2019

By ATB Economics 29 January 2021 2 min read

After increasing two months in a row, the seasonally adjusted value of building permits issued by Alberta municipalities* fell by 12.8 per cent ($131.2 million) in December.

Driven by a large drop in the institutional and governmental category, the value of non-residential permits lost ground in December, falling by 21.1 per cent ($70.8 million).

The value of residential construction permits, meanwhile, contracted by 8.7 per cent ($60.4 million) due to a slump in the multiple dwelling category. Multiple dwelling permits fell by 25.6 per cent ($81.9 million) whereas the value of single dwelling residential permits rose by 5.8 per cent ($21.5 million).

Turning to the annual picture, the (unadjusted) value of building permits in Alberta was down by 8.0 per cent ($928.6 million) in 2020 compared to 2019.

Considering the amount of economic turmoil brought on by the pandemic and the oil price crash, the annual drop in permit value was not as precipitous as we might have expected. Still, the loss of almost a billion dollars of activity is a significant blow to the construction sector and the broader economy.

What’s more, if we compare the situation in 2020 to the average value of permits between 2015 and 2019, the drop is much larger at 23.8 per cent ($3.3 billion).

Annual residential permits were down by 2.6 per cent ($179.3 million) while non-residential permits were down by 16.1 per cent ($749.3 million).

Permit value was lower across all major categories in 2020 compared to 2019 except for institutional and governmental permits, which increased by 45.1 per cent ($425.2 million). The smallest annual decrease was in the value of multiple dwelling building permits at -1.9 per cent ($59.5 million).

Nationally, the value of building permits was also lower in 2020 than in 2019, falling by 2.3 per cent ($2.4 billion).

The value of building permits went in two different directions in Alberta’s two largest metro areas last year. Permit value in Calgary was down by 21.9 per cent ($1.2 billion). Permit value in Edmonton, however, was up in 2020 by 8.6 per cent ($330.8 million). The increase in Edmonton was on the back of multiple dwelling permits, which were up by 49.5 per cent ($524.0 million).

*Statistics Canada’s Building Permits Survey covers all Canadian municipalities that issue permits.

Answer to the previous trivia question: According to Fortune magazine, the largest company in Canada in 2020 as measured by annual revenue is Brookfield Asset Management at $US 68 billion. Brookfield is #155 on the global list.

Today’s trivia question: According to Fortune magazine, what is the largest company in Alberta as measured by annual revenue in 2020?

The seasonally adjusted value of building permits issued by Alberta municipalities fell by 12.8 per cent ($131.2 million) in December

The seasonally adjusted value of building permits issued by Alberta municipalities fell by 12.8 per cent ($131.2 million) in December


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