Issue 16-171: Building Permits

September 9, 2016

The value of building permits issued in British Columbia decreased by 4.8% (seasonally adjusted) in July. Even though there was a slight increase in planned spending on non-residential development (+1.9%) relative to June, the value of building permits for residential structures continued to decline (-7.5%) during the same time period.

Among individual markets in the province, the value of permits in Kelowna experienced a sharp increase (+62.6%) in the month of July. On the other hand, Abbotsford-Mission (-51.8%), Victoria (-31.8%) and Vancouver (-2.6%) all saw declines in permits relative to the previous month.

Nationally, there was a slight uptick in value of permits in Canada as a whole (+0.8%). Nova Scotia (+21.9%), Manitoba (+17.6%) and Ontario (+11.1%) exhibited the strongest growth in July, while Saskatchewan (-44.3%), New Brunswick (39.7%), and Newfoundland and Labrador (-16.2%) experienced the sharpest declines in permits compared to June.

Regional Building Permits

Year-to-date, the value of building permits in British Columbia has been 1.4% greater during the first seven months of 2016 than the same time period in 2015. Among the four development regions that experienced an increase in building permits, Cariboo (+48.9%) saw the most significant boost due to higher spending on residential, commercial, and government/institutional projects.  On the other hand, four development regions in the province experienced varying degrees of deterioration in building activities, with North Coast (-55.9%) and Northeast (-30.9%) exhibiting the steepest declines in the province.

Mainland/Southwest — the region with the most amount of building activities in the province — experienced a decline of 5.7% in the first seven months of 2016 relative to the same time period in 2015. The decrease in building permits in the Mainland/Southwest region has been due to lower spending on residential, industrial, and governmental/institutional projects.

Data source: Statistics Canada (Regional data produced by BC Stats from unpublished data)