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Building permits point to challenging times

Building permits point to challenging times

Posted on: 5/13/2019 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team


The value of seasonally adjusted building permits issued by Alberta municipalities increased by 5.7 per cent in March compared to the previous month. This is a good sign, but it does not negate the fact that permits were still down compared to January and were off by 21.6 per cent on a year-over-year basis.

On the residential side, the permit value for house construction was down 36.4 per cent year-over-year in March whereas condos and apartments managed a 0.9 per cent increase. On the non-residential front, the year-over-year permit value was down 22.8 per cent.

In the Calgary CMA, strong numbers in the condo and apartment sector (+60.3 per cent year-over-year) were enough to push the overall permit value up by 8.0 per cent. Permits for single dwelling units, however, were down by 25.4 per cent and non-residential construction was down by 4.4 per cent.

In the Edmonton CMA, the value of permits fell by 39.5 per cent with both residential (-42.2 per cent) and non-residential (-35.1 per cent) permit values well down from where they were the previous March.

In addition to helping us to get a sense of how the provincial economy is performing, these numbers indicate that, while some companies have projects on the go, the construction sector and the workers it employs have been dealing with leaner times. Without a significant pick up, this situation will continue in 2019.


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