Photo: Andre Chinn/Flickr

After increasing in June and July, the overall value of Canadian building permits dropped in August.

The total value of building permits across the country in August was $7.5 billion, representing a 3.7 per cent decline from the month before, according to Statistics Canada’s latest Building Permits Survey.

Because a building permit is needed to begin construction on a development, tracking the total value of residential building permits issued by Canadian municipalities provides insight into the pace at which land developers plan on beginning construction on new housing projects.

Ontario was the only province or territory to see the value of building permits increase. Builders’ intentions to construct more multi-family dwellings — the province was the national leader in this respect — and commercial buildings were behind this increase, according to Statistics Canada.

Meanwhile, British Columbia saw the largest decrease. Statistics Canada chalked this up to a decline in plans to construct multi-family dwellings.

Overall, the value of residential building permits declined by 5.1 per cent to $4.7 billion in August. The decrease marked the first time in three months that the value of these permits was down month-over-month.

Roughly half of the residential building permits issued were for single-family dwellings. The total value of permits for this housing type added up to $2.4 billion, down 1.9 per cent from July.

The value of permits for multi-family dwellings was down 8.3 per cent month-over-month to a total of $2.3 billion, with British Columbia posting the sharpest decline after achieving a record high just one month earlier.

Municipalities from coast to coast approved the construction of 18,709 residential units, a month-over-month decline of 4.6 per cent. This breaks down to 12,675 multi-family units and 6,034 single-family dwellings.

In 22 of the 34 metro areas Statistics Canada surveyed, the value of building permits in August was lower than in July.

Statistics Canada’s survey focused on 2,400 municipalities across the country, or 95 per cent of the population.

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