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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email: thomas.storring@novascotia.ca

July 31, 2020
BUILDING PERMITS, JUNE 2020

The monthly value of building permits (seasonally adjusted) issued in Nova Scotia increased 2.2 per cent in June, following a (revised) increase of 5.2 per cent in May. Nova Scotia's residential permits increased 10.7 per cent while non-residential building permits decreased 18.3 per cent. Monthly results for building permits are highly volatile.

The six-month moving average of residential permits trended modestly upwards through 2017 and then declined in early 2018.  Afterwards, residential permits resumed an upward trend before flattening out over 2019 and have been declining in recent months. The six-month moving average for non-residential permit values remained relatively flat from mid-2017 to late 2018. Non-residential permits trended upward through 2019, then declined through the first six months of 2020.

The trend in Nova Scotia building permit values largely reflects the trends in the Halifax market. The value of Halifax building permits increased 0.2 per cent in June 2020, reflecting a 0.8 per cent increase in residential permit values and a 2.0 per cent decrease in non-residential permit values. 

The six-month moving average for residential permits in Halifax has been rising since mid-2016 except for a decline in the fall of 2017 and early 2018. Since then, Halifax residential permits trended upward before flattening out over 2019 and declining in 2020. Non-residential permits in Halifax trended down starting in June 2017, and have been increasing since the spring of 2019.

Outside the Halifax market, building permit values increased 4.7 per cent in June 2020, reflecting a rise in residential permits (+27.6 per cent) and a decline in non-residential permits (-28.7 per cent). Non-residential permits trended upward outside of Halifax from mid-2017 to mid-2018, remained relatively flat in 2019, and have been declining in recent months. Residential permits were elevated for a period in 2019, but have been declining in recent months.

In June 2020, the value of Nova Scotia building permits was down 40.1 per cent compared to June 2019. Residential permits were down 37.5 per cent and non-residential permits were down 47.1 per cent compared to twelve months earlier. The decrease in non-residential building permits reflects declines in commercial (-54.6 per cent) and institutional (-34.5 per cent), and an increase in industrial (+30.6 per cent).

Halifax building permits were down 53.8 per cent in June 2020 (year-over-year) with residential permits decreasing 51.3 per cent and non-residential permits down 62.0 per cent compared to June 2019. Building permits outside of Halifax were down 5.7 per cent.

Building permits in Nova Scotia's five economic regions totalled $171.0 million (unadjusted) in June 2020. The largest contributor was the Halifax region, with a combined residential and non-residential permit value of $93.6 million. In June 2020, the total value of residential and non-residential permits was up in the Annapolis Valley and Southern NS. Total permits decreased in Cape Breton, North Shore and Halifax.

In June 2020, the number of residential dwelling-units created (seasonality adjusted) in Nova Scotia was down by 105 units compared to June 2019. The number of single units was down for Halifax (-5) and unchanged for Nova Scotia outside of Halifax. The number of multiple units created was down for Halifax (-163) and up for Nova Scotia outside of Halifax (+63).

Nationally, the total value of building permits increased 6.2 per cent to $8.1 billion in June. The easing of Covid-19 measures in May allowed construction intentions to bounce back and advance in June. Despite the rebound, the value of building permits was down 12.8 per cent compared with the first quarter. Compared to the second quarter of 2019, the value of permits declined 17.4 per cent nationally. Losses were reported across all provinces and territories except Newfoundland and Labrador, where institutional sector gains drove an overall increase in permit values.

Residential building permit values (seasonally adjusted) were on an upward trend in 2016 but have levelled off since early 2017 and declined in 2020. National residential building permits were up 7.0 per cent in June. Non-residential building permit values rose through 2017 and peaked toward the end of the year, remaining relatively flat through 2018.  Since the end of 2018, non-residential permits have risen modestly and have been declining in recent months. National non-residential permit values were up 4.6 per cent in June.

Comparing June 2020 with June 2019, national residential building permit values (seasonality adjusted) were up 6.5 per cent, with the largest declines in percentage terms in Nova Scotia (-37.5 per cent), Saskatchewan (-31.1 per cent) and Alberta (-20.6 per cent). Residential permits increased in Newfoundland and Labrador (+42.0 per cent), British Columbia (+34.9 per cent) and Quebec (+23.1 per cent).

National non-residential permits (seasonality adjusted) were down 16.1 per cent in June 2020 compared with June 2019, with declines in eight provinces. Nova Scotia (-47.1 per cent), Saskatchewan (-46.9 per cent), New Brunswick (-43.2 per cent) and Alberta (-41.7 per cent) had the largest declines in percentage terms. Non-residential permits increased in Newfoundland (+140.6 per cent) and British Columbia (+39.8 per cent).

In June 2020, the national value of total (residential and non-residential) building permits was down 2.3 per cent compared to June 2019, with declines in eight provinces. Nova Scotia (-40.1 per cent), Saskatchewan (-39.8 per cent), and Alberta (-29.0 per cent) had the largest declines in percentage terms. Non-residential permits increased in Newfoundland (+92.9 per cent) and British Columbia (+36.3 per cent).

Source: Statistics Canada Table 34-10-0066-01



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