Issue 19-39 Building Permits

March 7, 2019

The value of building permits decreased 24.3% (seasonally adjusted) in January from the previous month. There were decreases in permits for commercial (‑54.9%), institutional (‑53.1%), industrial (‑30.7%), and residential (‑4.3%) projects. The value of permits was lower in Vancouver (‑27.8%), where most of the province’s building activity occurs, as well as in Abbotsford-Mission (‑49.2%) and Kelowna (‑4.4%). Conversely, an increase in building permits was reported in Victoria (+19.4%).

Nationally, building permits decreased by 5.5% in January. Most of Western Canada saw decreases, with British Columbia (‑24.3%), Saskatchewan (‑19.2%), and Alberta (‑8.7%), as well as Quebec (‑10.3%), having lower building intentions. The Atlantic provinces (+29.3%), Ontario (+8.6%), and Manitoba (+6.7%) saw increases in the value of building permits.

Regional Building Permits Year-over-year

In January of 2019, the value of building permits issued in the province’s regions climbed 3.4% (unadjusted) above the level recorded twelve months earlier. Investment intentions were up in most regions ranging from 1.3% in Vancouver Island/Coast to 126.1% in North Coast. Planned spending rose in Mainland/Southwest (+8.0%), where increases in institutional (+43.3%) and residential (+14.3%) building permits offset decreases for industrial (‑50.9%) and commercial (‑6.6%) projects. Overall permits increased in Kootenay (+23.7%) and Nechako (‑50.3%), while the Northeast (‑99.6%), Cariboo (‑28.7%) and Thompson/Okanagan (‑11.5%) regions saw a decline in the value of permits.

Data Source: Statistics Canada (Regional data produced by BC Stats from unpublished data)