Canada’s construction sector showed more weakness than expected in August, with a sharp decrease in plans for commercial and institutional buildings while housing showed a more modest decline, according to Statistics Canada data on Monday.
The seasonally adjusted value of building permits issued in August fell 21.2 per cent to C$6.34-billion ($6.16-billion) after jumping 21.4 per cent in July to a record high, Statscan’s revised numbers showed. Analysts in a Reuters survey had forecast a 7.4 per cent decrease in August.
“With this decline, the trend in the value of building permits has become relatively flat since the beginning of 2013,” Statscan said.
The report supported Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s comments last month that the housing sector is “calming” after a period of worry that a post-recession housing boom would turn into a bubble. Permits for housing fell 5.4 per cent in August following a 4.2 per cent rise in July, and were down 7.1 per cent from a year earlier.
Permits for multi-family dwellings fell 8.3 per cent and those for single-family units slipped 3 per cent.
The value of nonresidential building permits tumbled by 37.9 per cent, nearly erasing the 47.3 per cent gain in the previous month. The commercial component was down 45.8 per cent and plans for institutional buildings also fell 36.7 per cent. The value of permits in the industrial component fell just 1.2 per cent.