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INDUSTRY PULSE: Construction business on the rise again

OTTAWA, Ont. -- There's good news for truckers in the construction industry today. Construction intentions increase...

OTTAWA, Ont. — There’s good news for truckers in the construction industry today. Construction intentions increased for the first time in four months in October, according to Statistics Canada.

The uptake comes in the wake of strong demand for new single-family dwellings in the housing sector. Municipalities issued $4.6 billion in building permits, up 2.0% from September. This halted three consecutive monthly declines.

Despite the recent decreases, however, the total value surpassed the $4.5 billion mark for a fifth consecutive month in October, and was well above last year’s monthly average of $4.2 billion.

The value of residential permits rebounded from three straight monthly declines with a 3.0% gain to $3.1 billion. The recovery was the result of the rise in the single-family permits, which more than offset the decline in the value of multi-family permits.

In the non-residential sector, builders took out $1.5 billion in permits in October, unchanged from September. A strong gain in construction intentions in the industrial component was completely offset by declines in the commercial and institutional areas.

On a year-to-date basis, municipalities issued $45.5 billion of permits, up 8.0% during the first 10 months of 2003. Between January and October, the value of residential permits increased 15.6% to $30.3 billion, as strong advances occurred in the value of permits for both single- and multi-family dwellings. In contrast, intentions in the non-residential sector were down 4.7%.

Regionally, the metropolitan areas of Vancouver and Montral recorded by far the largest advances (in dollars) on a year-to-date basis, in both cases because of a feverish demand for new dwellings. The non-residential sector also contributed to the gain but to a lesser extent. The metropolitan areas of St. John’s, Qubec and Edmonton also posted sizeable gains. Oshawa, with declines in both residential and non-residential sectors, showed the largest loss.

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