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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

October 01, 2020
BUILDING PERMITS, AUGUST 2020

The monthly value of building permits (seasonally adjusted) issued in Nova Scotia increased 1.7 per cent in August, following a (revised) increase of 10.7 per cent in July. Nova Scotia's residential permits decreased 2.6 per cent and non-residential building permits increased 16.7 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 then declined in early 2020. In recent months residential building permits have been trending upward. 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 eight 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 decreased 20.3 per cent in August 2020, reflecting a 12.4 per cent decrease in residential permit values and a 46.1 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 but have been declining in recent months.

Outside the Halifax market, building permit values increased 36.6 per cent in August 2020, reflecting an increase in residential permits (+12.4 per cent) and in non-residential permits (+126.6 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 Jan-Aug 2020, the value of Nova Scotia building permits was down 13.2 per cent compared to Jan-Aug 2019. Residential permits were down 14.5 per cent and non-residential permits were down 9.7 per cent compared to Jan-Aug 2019. The decrease in non-residential building permits reflects declines in commercial (-13.0 per cent) and institutional (-24.1 per cent), and an increase in industrial (+18.0 per cent).

Halifax building permits were down 17.6 per cent in Jan-Aug 2020 (year-to-date) with residential permits decreasing 22.8 per cent and non-residential permits up 1.4 per cent compared to Jan-Aug 2019. Building permits outside of Halifax were down 5.8 per cent.

Building permits in Nova Scotia's five economic regions totalled $1.05 billion (unadjusted) in Jan-Aug 2020. The largest contributor was the Halifax region, with a combined residential and non-residential permit value of $620.0 million. In Jan-Aug 2020, the total value of residential and non-residential permits was up in Southern NS. Total permits decreased in Cape Breton, North Shore, Annapolis Valley and Halifax.

In Jan-Aug 2020, the number of residential dwelling-units created (seasonality adjusted) in Nova Scotia was down by 520 units compared to Jan-Aug 2019. The number of single units was up for Halifax (+52) and up for Nova Scotia outside of Halifax (+48). The number of multiple units created was down for Halifax (-624) and up for Nova Scotia outside of Halifax (+3).

Nationally, the total value of building permits increased 1.7 per cent to $8.1 billion in August. The monthly increase in the total value of building permits was mainly reflected by increases in Ontario and Quebec residential building permits.

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 7.1 per cent in August. 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 down 8.6 per cent in August.

Comparing Jan-Aug 2020 with Jan-Aug 2019, national residential building permit values (seasonality adjusted) were down 2.5 per cent, with the largest decreases in percentage terms in Nova Scotia (-14.5 per cent) and British Columbia (-12.5 per cent). Residential permits increased in Ontario (+2.5 per cent), Quebec (+1.6 per cent), New Brunswick (+1.4 per cent) and Saskatchewan (+0.5 per cent).

National non-residential permits (seasonality adjusted) were down 18.2 per cent in Jan-Aug 2020 compared with Jan-Aug 2019, with declines in nine provinces. New Brunswick (-53.1 per cent), Saskatchewan (-38.8 per cent), and Quebec (-30.7 per cent), had the largest declines in percentage terms. Non-residential permits only increased in Newfoundland and Labrador (+30.0 per cent).

In Jan-Aug 2020, the national value of total (residential and non-residential) building permits was down 8.6 per cent compared to Jan-Aug 2019, with declines in nine provinces. New Brunswick (-26.3 per cent), Saskatchewan (-22.6 per cent), and British Columbia (-15.7 per cent) had the largest declines in percentage terms. Total building permits increased in Newfoundland and Labrador (+13.2 per cent).

Comparing August 2020 with February 2020, Nova Scotia residential building permit values (seasonality adjusted) were up 20.9 per cent. National residential building permit values (seasonality adjusted) were up 5.8 per cent, with the largest increases in percentage terms in Prince Edward Island (+70.6 per cent), Newfoundland and Labrador (+44.0 per cent) and New Brunswick (+29.5 per cent). Residential permits decreased in Saskatchewan (-19.1 per cent) and Alberta (-10.1 per cent).

National non-residential permits (seasonality adjusted) were down 20.6 per cent in August 2020 compared with February 2020, with declines in nine provinces. Manitoba (-60.6 per cent), British Columbia (-56.6 per cent), and Newfoundland and Labrador (-49.1 per cent) had the largest declines in percentage terms. Non-residential permits increased in Prince Edward Island (+484.5 per cent).

In August 2020, the national value of total (residential and non-residential) building permits was down 4.1 per cent compared to February 2020, with declines in six provinces. Manitoba (-29.8 per cent), Saskatchewan (-14.3 per cent), and British Columbia (-12.5 per cent) had the largest declines in percentage terms. Prince Edward Island (+136.8 per cent) and Nova Scotia (+10.9 per cent) had the largest gains.

 

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



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