Issue 16-211: Building Permits

November 10, 2016

The value of building permits issued by B.C. municipalities slipped 13.3% (seasonally adjusted) in September. The downturn was due in part to less planned activity in the non-residential (-16.9%) sector. Permits for institutional and governmental (-40.1%) and commercial (-22.1%) buildings were down, offsetting a substantial boost in activity in the industrial (+109.1%) sector. Meanwhile, permits issued in the residential sector (-12.1%) also slipped.

Planned spending slowed in three of the province's census metropolitan areas, with Abbotsford-Mission (-26.7%) posting the steepest decline. Victoria (-8.6%) and Vancouver (-20.0%) also recorded decreases, while Kelowna (+64.4%) bucked the trend with a significant boost. Vancouver accounted for over fifty percent of the total value of building permits issued in the province in September.

Canadian permits were off 7.0%, as decreased activity in some of the more populous provinces, such as Quebec (-14.7%), Ontario (-4.3%) and B.C. outweighed strength in other parts of the country.

Regional Building Permits

Year-to-date, building permits were 2.3% higher than in the first nine months of 2015, with increases in five regions. Cariboo (+39.8%), where a climb in the value of permits reflected significantly higher spending on commercial projects, and Vancouver Island/Coast (+35.5%) saw the most notable boosts. A decrease in Mainland/Southwest (-6.0%) was the result of declines in all sectors. Permits were also off in Northeast (-24.9%) and North Coast (-75.0%). On the other hand, the Kootenay (+0.9%), Nechako (+1.0%) and Thompson-Okanagan (+33.9%) regions of the province fared favourably in the first nine months of the year.

Data source: Statistics Canada (Regional data produced by BC Stats from unpublished data)