The total value of permits was up in 19 of the 34 Canadian census metropolitan areas in April, led by Calgary, London and Halifax, according to Statistics Canada. The federal agency reported Thursday that “Calgary posted the largest increase, as a result of higher construction intentions for institutional buildings, commercial structures and multi-family dwellings.” Permits in Calgary reached $597.6 million in April, up 33.9 per cent from March. However, on a year-over-year basis permits in the Calgary region were off by 23.2 per cent. In April, the residential component reached $318.9 million, up 19.57 per cent from March while the non-residential sector was $278.7 million, up 55.26 per cent from the previous month. “Residential building permits so far this year have moderated compared to the elevated level reached in 2013,” said Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. “As such, the heightened pace of new construction experienced in the last several months is not expected to be maintained. Total housing starts after four months were up 64 per cent from the previous year. While total housing starts in 2014 are forecast to rise, the gain will be less pronounced by the end of the year.” In Alberta, total permits of $1.3 billion were down 0.6 per cent on a monthly basis and off by 13.5 per cent year-over-year. The province saw its residential component rise however to $791.2 million, up 5.4 per cent from March and an increase of 6.0 per cent from last year. But the non-residential sector in the province dropped to $489.2 million, down 9.0 per cent month-over-month and a decrease of 33.3 per cent year-over-year. Nationally, total permits across the country reached $6.0 billion which represented a monthly jump of 1.1 per cent but a year-over-year decline of 13.4 per cent. In Canada, the residential sector saw permits valued at $3.7 billion. That was a two per cent increase from March but down 13.8 per cent from a year ago. The non-residential sector saw permit value drop by 0.4 per cent on a monthly basis and by 12.7 per cent on an annual basis to $2.3 billion. Nick Exarhos, of CIBC World Markets Economics, said Canadian building permits for April came in weaker than expected. He said the Canadian housing should still experience a bit of a pick up from the first quarter after the effects of the unseasonably cold weather roll off.
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