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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

August 31, 2020
BUILDING PERMITS, JULY 2020

The monthly value of building permits (seasonally adjusted) issued in Nova Scotia increased 10.6 per cent in July, following a (revised) increase of 2.2 per cent in June. Nova Scotia's residential permits increased 10.7 per cent and non-residential building permits increased 10.5 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 seven 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 26.0 per cent in July 2020, reflecting a 20.7 per cent increase in residential permit values and a 47.3 per cent increase 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 but have been declining in recent months.

Outside the Halifax market, building permit values decreased 7.8 per cent in July 2020, reflecting a decline in residential permits (-2.4 per cent) and in non-residential permits (-23.1 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 and trended down starting in 2020 and have been increasing in recent months.

In July 2020, the value of Nova Scotia building permits was down 16.0 per cent compared to July 2019. Residential permits were down 0.9 per cent and non-residential permits were down 44.8 per cent compared to twelve months earlier. The decrease in non-residential building permits reflects declines in commercial (-61.1 per cent) and institutional (-33.8 per cent), and an increase in industrial (+63.7 per cent).

Halifax building permits were down 4.6 per cent in July 2020 (year-over-year) with residential permits increasing 6.4 per cent and non-residential permits down 28.9 per cent compared to July 2019. Building permits outside of Halifax were down 29.8 per cent.

Building permits in Nova Scotia's five economic regions totalled $181.0 million (unadjusted) in July 2020. The largest contributor was the Halifax region, with a combined residential and non-residential permit value of $109.4 million. In July 2020, the total value of residential and non-residential permits was up in Halifax. Total permits decreased in Cape Breton, North Shore, Annapolis Valley and Southern NS.

In July 2020, the number of residential dwelling-units created (seasonality adjusted) in Nova Scotia was down by 12 units compared to July 2019. The number of single units was down for Halifax (-31) and up for Nova Scotia outside of Halifax (+9). The number of multiple units created was up for Halifax (+66) and down for Nova Scotia outside of Halifax (-55).

Nationally, the total value of building permits decreased 3.0 per cent to $7.8 billion in July. The monthly decline in the total value of building permits was mainly reflected by declines in British Columbia, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.

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 down 6.2 per cent in July. 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 3.3 per cent in July.

Comparing July 2020 with July 2019, national residential building permit values (seasonality adjusted) were down 1.4 per cent, with the largest increases in percentage terms in Prince Edward Island (+61.4 per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (+51.6 per cent). Residential permits decreased in, British Columbia (-13.6 per cent), Alberta (-10.6 per cent), and Nova Scotia (-0.9 per cent).

National non-residential permits (seasonality adjusted) were down 21.6 per cent in July 2020 compared with July 2019, with declines in eight provinces. Manitoba (-48.5 per cent), New Brunswick (-46.3 per cent), Nova Scotia (-44.8 per cent) and Saskatchewan (-40.9 per cent) had the largest declines in percentage terms. Non-residential permits increased in Newfoundland and Labrador (+207.0 per cent) and Prince Edward Island (+53.0 per cent).

In July 2020, the national value of total (residential and non-residential) building permits was down 9.6 per cent compared to July 2019, with declines in eight provinces. British Columbia (-19.5 per cent), Saskatchewan (-18.4 per cent), and Manitoba (-18.2 per cent) had the largest declines in percentage terms. Total building permits increased in Newfoundland (+97.7 per cent) and Prince Edward Island (+58.6 per cent).

Comparing July 2020 with February 2020, Nova Scotia residential building permit values (seasonality adjusted) were up 23.2 per cent. National residential building permit values (seasonality adjusted) were down 4.2 per cent, with the largest increases in percentage terms in Prince Edward Island (+107.3 per cent), Newfoundland and Labrador (+73.7 per cent) and New Brunswick (+38.7 per cent). Residential permits decreased in Alberta (-24.4 per cent), Ontario (-7.7 per cent), and Saskatchewan (-0.8 per cent).

National non-residential permits (seasonality adjusted) were down 13.4 per cent in July 2020 compared with February 2020, with declines in seven provinces. Saskatchewan (-55.0 per cent), Quebec (-28.2 per cent), and Nova Scotia (-23.3 per cent) had the largest declines in percentage terms. Non-residential permits increased in Prince Edward Island (+409.5 per cent), Newfoundland and Labrador (+29.2 per cent) and New Brunswick (+15.5 per cent).

In July 2020, the national value of total (residential and non-residential) building permits was down 7.6 per cent compared to February 2020, with declines in five provinces. Saskatchewan (-32.1 per cent), Alberta (-15.8 per cent) and Ontario (-10.5 per cent) had the largest declines in percentage terms. Prince Edward Island (+155.7 per cent), Newfoundland and Labrador (+49.9 per cent) and New Brunswick (+30.2 per cent) had the largest gains.

 

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



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