Blog by Andrew Peck

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"Have the number of building permits been affected by the market downturn?"

"Have the number of building permits been affected by the market downturn?"

Building permits are typically a bellwether of market activity and for the Lower Mainland Southwest Region permit values dropped 48% to $191.9 million in December compared to November 2008. (the most recent numbers issued by Statistics Canada).  

Total non-residential permits declined 42% to $111.8 million compared to $192.6 million in November. 

  • Institutional-government permits rebounded 346% to $20.1 million from $4.5 million in November.
  • Industrial permits rose 34% to $15.0 million from $11.2 million last month.
  • Commercial permits dropped 57% to $76.6 million compared to $176.9 million previously.

Residential permit values fell 54% to $80.1 million and the number of dwelling units decreased 48%.

“Permits have fallen in both the residential and non-residential sectors,” says Andrew Peck, Vice-President and General Manager. “This is a continuation of the downturn that began in October 2008 as a result of the global financial crisis events.”

The Silver Lining

Is there one? In the near term, I think we can expect the decline to continue since permits reflect the major market adjustment underway.

But, a significant positive for construction in 2009 are the fiscal stimulus measures introduced in the Federal Budget 2009 and the BC Budget 2009.

Measures provide tax incentives and spending by the government for buildings and construction projects including new roads, bridges, water, sewer, and social housing.

Total Building Permits

Non-Residential Building Permits

Residential Building Permits

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