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The total value of building permits that municipalities across Canada issued in September was down from one month earlier, according to Statistics Canada.

Building permits granted totalled a value of $7.1 billion in September, a 6.7 per cent decline from August, the national agency said Friday.

September’s national decline was largely attributed to fewer plans in Ontario for the construction of residential buildings — in particular, multi-family dwellings — and commercial buildings. It was the second consecutive month that value of building permits fell after recording back-t0-back increases in June and July.

Because a building permit is needed to begin construction on a new 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.

Looking only at residential building permits, the decline was sharper. The value of these permits was $4.2 billion in September, down 11.6 per cent from August.

For multi-family dwellings, the value of permits in September was $1.8 billion, a 20 per cent drop from August. During this period, the value of permits issued for single-family dwellings nudged down 3.7 per cent to a total of $2.3 billion.

Five provinces saw the overall value of residential permits issued drop month-t0-month, with Ontario leading the way in declines. The other provinces that saw drops were Saskatchewan, Quebec, British Columbia and Nova Scotia.

Manitoba and Alberta posted the biggest gains in residential permit values.

Nationally, municipalities issued permits for 16,907 new homes (either single-family dwellings or units in multi-family buildings) in September. The overall number of new homes marks a 9.4 per cent decrease from August.

The number of new units in multi-family dwellings entering the pipeline was down 11.6 per cent to 11,235. The decline in single-family homes was more modest. Municipalities approved 5,672 of these homes in September, down 4.8 per cent from August.

Statistics Canada’s data is culled from its monthly Building Permits Survey which tracks more 2,400 municipalities that house 95 per cent of the country’s population.

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