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Value of building permits drops by 1.1% in the first quarter of 2013HighlightsCommentary

The Quebec City CMA is abuzz with projects. According to data compiled by Quebec International, the region currently has 250 projects under way or announced. These projects are expected to generate approximately $9.5 billion in expenditures by 2020. This momentum is also having a positive impact on the value of building permits, which remains at a historically high level. In the first quarter of 2013, the total value of building permits was down slightly to $340.7 million (-1.1%).


  • According to Statistics Canada, the value of building permits in the Quebec City census metropolitan area (CMA) reached $340.7 million in the first quarter of 2013, down 1.1% from the previous quarter.
  • The industrial and residential sectors posted increases of 389.5% and 4.5% respectively. The region recorded declines in the commercial (-30.9%) and institutional (-18,1%) sectors. 


Although the residential market was expected to slow down in 2013, the value of building permits rose by 4.5% in the first quarter. Employment growth, low vacancy rates and low mortgage rates are all helping to bolster demand for new properties.

The non-residential market posted a 10.8% drop in the first quarter. The industrial sector fared well with an increase of 389.5%, although this was not enough to offset the decreases in the commercial and institutional sectors (-30.9% and -18.1% respectively). In this regard, a number of manufacturers are planning to invest in business modernization and expansion projects in order to remain competitive. Various major commercial and institutional projects kicked off in 2012 and will continue in 2013. Therefore, the drop in the value of building permits should not be construed as a drop-off in activity; it is actually a sign that the market is demonstrating discipline in order to avoid building up a surplus of available space.

Louis Gagnon
Senior Economist
Quebec International