Issue 19-81 Building Permits

May 14, 2019

The value of building permits increased 12.8% or $180 million (seasonally adjusted) in March from the previous month. There were increases in permits for institutional (+69.0%), industrial (+12.3%), commercial (+11.1%), and residential (+6.4%) buildings. The value of permits was higher in Vancouver (+22.8%), where most of the province’s building activity occurs, as well as in Kelowna (+64.1%) and Victoria (+45.7%), while the value of permits was lower in Abbotsford-Mission (‑46.9%).

Nationally, building permits decreased by 2.1% in March. All provinces east of Manitoba reported declines. The largest decrease was in Ontario, down 1.4% (-$43 million) due to lower construction intentions in the residential sector.

Regional Building Permits Year-over-year

Between January and March 2019, the value of building permits (unadjusted) issued in the province’s regions increased by 0.8% compared to the same period twelve months earlier.

Planned spending was lower in Mainland/Southwest (‑3.7%), where an increase in institutional (+106.9%) and industrial (+42.0%) building permits could not offset decreases for commercial (‑10.2%), and residential (‑9.2%) projects. The Northeast (‑25.5%) region also saw a decline in the value of permits.

Overall permits increased in all the other regions of B.C., led by North Coast (+580.6%), Nechako (+408.3%), and Kootenay (+39.0%). These increases were not enough to offset the declines in Mainland/Southwest and to a lesser extent the Northeast region.

Data Source: Statistics Canada (Regional data produced by BC Stats from unpublished data)