Vancouver Leads Decline in Canadian August Building Permits

Canadian building permits fell for the first time in three months in August as work on multiple-unit housing in Vancouver dropped from a record high.

The nationwide value of municipal permits decreased 3.7 percent to C$7.55 billion ($5.80 billion), curbing the gain over the prior 12 months to 15.1 percent, Statistics Canada said Wednesday in Ottawa. Housing permits fell by 5.1 percent on the month while non-residential declined 1.3 percent.

Vancouver permits dropped by 26.1 percent to C$735 million, as multiple-unit housing dropped 45.6 percent to C$343 million. The city’s total value of permits remained 52.3 percent greater than 12 months earlier.

Cities in the oil hub of Alberta showed the strain of the crash in crude prices. Permits in Calgary dropped 23.6 percent to C$511 million in August, and in the provincial capital of Edmonton they fell 25.8 percent to C$382 million.

Toronto, Canada’s largest city, showed a 50.3 percent rise in permits to C$2.27 billion, led by multiple-unit housing and commercial buildings. The total has increased by 146 percent over the 12 months through August.

The world’s 11th largest economy has been strained this year by the loss of jobs and investment in energy-producing regions such as Alberta and by concerns about a boom in condo construction in Toronto and Vancouver.