Canadian building permits declined 3 per cent in March, following an 11.3 per cent decline in February. Lower construction intentions in the non-residential sector overwhelmed smaller gains in residential permitting activity.
Construction intentions in BC rose 9.4 per cent month-over-month and 16.5 per cent year-over-year in March. The dollar value of residential permits rose 12.1 per cent on a monthly basis and 8.9 per cent year-over-year while non-residential permits were up 4.5 per cent over February and 34.2 per cent year-over-year. In unit terms, residential permits rose from 1,511 total units in February to 2,305 in March due to a jump in permits for apartment units.
Building permit activity was up in three of BC's four census metropolitan areas (CMA) in March. In the Abbotsford-Mission CMA, permits more than doubled on a monthly basis and were up 91.8 per cent year-over-year. Construction intentions in the Victoria CMA also more than doubled from February and were up 29.3 per cent year-over-year. In the Kelowna CMA, permits increased 8.4 per cent on a monthly basis and but were down 7.6 per cent from March 2013. Finally, in the Vancouver CMA, permits fell 3.1 per cent from February but rose 14.4 per cent year-over-year.