The value of Canadian building permits decreased in November, with declines seen across almost all building types.
According to Statistics Canada, the total value of building permits dropped by 3.9% from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted 10.87 billion Canadian dollars ($8.15 billion).
The retreat was steeper than anticipated, as economists at TD Securities were expecting a 1.4% drop. This decline follows a 3.0% increase in permits in October, which had been revised upward.
The decrease in residential permits issued in British Columbia and Quebec, driven by a decrease in intentions for multi-unit construction, more than offset residential gains in other regions of the country. Additionally, there was also a decline in the monthly value of non-residential building permits, primarily due to weakness in the commercial component.
On a year-over-year basis, the overall value of permits issued in November was 4.2% lower.
Building permits serve as an early indication of construction activity in Canada and are based on a survey of 2,400 municipalities, representing 95% of the country's population. However, it should be noted that the issuance of a permit does not guarantee immediate construction.
In the residential sector, construction intentions decreased by 2.8% from the previous month to C$6.96 billion. Intentions for multifamily dwellings saw a 4.7% decrease, while intentions for single-family homes experienced a slight 0.3% increase.
Permits for nonresidential buildings were down by 5.8% at $3.91 billion.