Building permits issued by Canadian municipalities totalled $7.1 billion in December, a the 7.7 per cent boost over November. The increase was thanks largely to an uptick of activity in the non-residential sector. Non-residential permits totalled $2.7 billion in December, a 22.9 per cent month-over-month spike.
On the other hand, activity in the residential sector remained level at $4.4 billion in December, following a 2.5 per cent decline in November.
Alberta saw the highest monthly increase in residential building permits among the provinces, followed by British Columbia and Quebec. The biggest drop was recorded in Ontario, though Saskatchewan and Manitoba also experienced declines.
Municipalities were still busy approving single-family dwellings, with permits tallying $2.6 billion in December, an eight per cent climb from November. Increases were reported in every province, with British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta reporting the biggest jumps.
However, construction intentions for multi-family dwellings dropped 9.5 per cent to $1.8 billion in December, the second monthly decrease in a row. That fall was mostly due to lower construction intentions in Ontario, followed by Saskatchewan and British Columbia. Gains were seen in five provinces, led by Alberta, New Brunswick and Quebec.
Municipalities approved the construction of 16,023 new dwellings in December, a 5.6 cent drop from November. The decrease came from multi-family dwellings, which recorded an 11.9 per cent monthly decline. Meanwhile, the number of single-family dwellings approved by cities rose by 5.5 per cent from November.
Despite the drop in December, overall, 2014 saw residential building permits total $50.9 billion, up 5.1 per cent from 2013.