After a record-high March, non-residential construction intentions slowed in April, bringing the total value of building permits issued across Canada to their lowest level in more than two years.

According to new data from Statistics Canada (StatCan), the total monthly value of building permits declined 18.8% to $9.6B in April, the lowest level since December 2020.

After soaring to an all-time high of $5.2B in March, the total value of building permits in the non-residential sector dropped 34.6% month over month to $3.4B.

The commercial component led the decline, with construction intentions falling 40.2%, or $1.1B. The industrial sector followed, with permit values declining 49.6%, or $663.8M, on a monthly basis.

April's declines can be attributed to an "exceptionally high" volume of large-scale projects during the month prior. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the average commercial permit was valued at $901K in March, while the average industrial permit was valued at $1.7M. In April, the figures stood at $433K and $413K, respectively.

Building permits 2Statistics Canada

In the residential sector, the total monthly value of building permits dropped 6.1% to $6.1B in April, marking the second consecutive month of decline.

The multi-family component experienced the most significant drop, with the value of permits falling 7.6% to $3.6B. Construction intentions in the single-family sector slowed 3.6% month over month to $2.4B.

On a provincial level, the greatest contributor to the downturn in the residential sector was Ontario, which saw permit values fall 10.5%, or $296.4M, in April. Meanwhile, residential construction intentions rose 2.6%, or $35.1M, in British Columbia, and 45.0%, or $15.2, in Saskatchewan.

The latter was the only province to see overall growth in April, with the total monthly value of building permits rising 1.7%. Quebec led the decline, with the total value of permits falling 36.9% from March to April.

Building permits 1Statistics Canada

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