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Construction permits see uptick in March

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Construction activity in the province should pick up a little over the next few months, according to building-permit data released today.

Statistics Canada said local contractors took out $143.3 million worth of permits in March, which was a 1.7 per cent increase from February’s total of $141 million.

Because contractors usually must obtain a building permit before construction work can begin, an increase in permit numbers usually means a pending increase in construction activity.

March’s increase was concentrated on the residential side of the construction industry, where permit values rose by three per cent to $101.6 million from $98.6 million in February.

The value of non-residential permits declined by 1.5 per cent to $41.8 million from $42.4 million.

Although March’s overall total was an improvement from the previous month, it was still down 4.6 per cent from March of last year, when $150.2 million worth of permits were issued.

Nationally, the value of permits declined by three per cent from February to March — $6.0 billion versus $6.2 billion — and was down 5.5 per cent from a year earlier, Statistics Canada said.

The monthly decline at the national level was due to lower construction intentions in the non-residential sector in six provinces, the agency added.

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