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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 29, 2020
BUILDING PERMITS, SEPTEMBER 2020

The monthly value of building permits (seasonally adjusted) issued in Nova Scotia decreased 10.5 per cent in September, following a (revised) increase of 0.9 per cent in August. Nova Scotia's residential permits decreased 7.9 per cent and non-residential building permits decreased 18.2 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 declining in early 2020. In recent months the trend in residential building permits has remained relatively flat. 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 nine months of 2020.

The trend in Nova Scotia building permit values largely reflects trends in the Halifax market. The value of Halifax building permits decreased 9.6 per cent in September 2020, reflecting a 13.1 per cent decrease in residential permit values and a 10.5 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, followed by increases starting in Spring 2019. Non-residential permits have been declining in recent months.

Outside the Halifax market, building permit values decreased 11.3 per cent in September 2020, reflecting a decrease in residential permits (-1.6 per cent) and in non-residential permits (-29.7 per cent). Non-residential permits trended upward outside of Halifax from mid-2017 to mid-2018, remained relatively flat in 2019, and have been down on average through 2020. Residential permits were elevated for a period in 2019, trended down starting in 2020, but have been increasing in recent months.

In Jan-Sep 2020, the value of Nova Scotia building permits was down 15.5 per cent compared to Jan-Sep 2019. Residential permits were down 15.9 per cent and non-residential permits were down 14.3 per cent compared to Jan-Sep 2019. The decrease in non-residential building permits reflects declines in commercial (-20.1 per cent) and institutional (-18.2 per cent), and an increase in industrial (+18.1 per cent).

Halifax building permits were down 21.8 per cent in Jan-Sep 2020 (year-to-date) with residential permits decreasing 25.6 per cent and non-residential permits down 8.2 per cent compared to Jan-Sep 2019. Building permits outside of Halifax were down 4.8 per cent.

Building permits in Nova Scotia's five economic regions totalled $1.18 billion (unadjusted) in Jan-Sep 2020. The largest contributor was the Halifax region, with a combined residential and non-residential permit value of $676.6 million. In Jan-Sep 2020, the total value of residential and non-residential permits was up in Southern compared to the same period last year, while permits decreased in Cape Breton, North Shore, Annapolis Valley and Halifax.

In Jan-Sep 2020, the number of residential dwelling-units created (seasonality adjusted) in Nova Scotia was down by 680 units compared to Jan-Sep 2019. The number of single units was up for Halifax (+54) and up for Nova Scotia outside of Halifax (+68). The number of multiple units created was down for Halifax (-815) and up for Nova Scotia outside of Halifax (+13).

Nationally, the total value of building permits increased 17.0 per cent to $9.45 billion in September. The monthly increase in the total value of building permits was mainly reflected by increases in Ontario and British Columbia.

Residential building permit values (seasonally adjusted) were on an upward trend in 2016, levelled off starting in 2017, and declined in 2020. In recent months residential permits have increased, with 6.9 per cent growth in September. Non-residential building permit values rose through 2017 and peaked toward the end of the year, remaining relatively flat through 2018. Through 2019 non-residential permits rose modestly then declined sharply in the first quarter of 2020. National non-residential permit values have increased in recent months, with September up 40.6 per cent. 

Comparing Jan-Sep 2020 with Jan-Sep 2019, national residential building permit values (seasonality adjusted) were down 0.1 per cent, with the largest decreases in percentage terms in Nova Scotia (-15.9 per cent) and British Columbia (-11.7 per cent). Residential permits increased in Ontario (+6.4 per cent), Quebec (+4.6 per cent), New Brunswick (+2.9 per cent) and Saskatchewan (+2.7 per cent).

National non-residential permits (seasonality adjusted) were down 16.4 per cent in Jan-Sep 2020 compared with Jan-Sep 2019, with declines in eight provinces. New Brunswick (-48.3 per cent), Saskatchewan (-38.4 per cent), and Quebec (-26.9 per cent), had the largest declines in percentage terms. Non-residential permits increased in Newfoundland and Labrador (+29.6 per cent) and Prince Edward Island (+14.3 per cent).

In Jan-Sep 2020, the national value of total (residential and non-residential) building permits was down 6.4 per cent compared to Jan-Sep 2019, with declines in seven provinces. New Brunswick (-22.6 per cent), Saskatchewan (-21.4 per cent), and British Columbia (16.1 per cent) had the largest declines in percentage terms. Total building permits increased in Newfoundland and Labrador (+14.4 per cent), Ontario (+2.7 per cent) and Prince Edward Island (+1.9 per cent).

Comparing September 2020 with February 2020, Nova Scotia residential building permit values (seasonality adjusted) were up 11.3 per cent. National residential building permit values (seasonality adjusted) were up 14.4 per cent, with the largest increases in percentage terms in Prince Edward Island (+69.8 per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (+69.9 per cent). Residential permits decreased in Saskatchewan (-14.6 per cent) and British Columbia (-6.2 per cent).

National non-residential permits (seasonality adjusted) were up 8.7 per cent in September 2020 compared with February 2020. Manitoba (-53.1 per cent) and British Columbia (-54.7 per cent) had the largest declines in percentage terms. Non-residential permits increased the fastest in Prince Edward Island (+1382.1 per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (+168.0 per cent). Prince Edward Island non-residential permits were up in September, with $53 million in building permits for manufacturing facilities.  

In September 2020, the national value of total (residential and non-residential) building permits was up 12.3 per cent compared to February 2020. Manitoba (-31.7 per cent), Saskatchewan (-20.1 per cent), and British Columbia (-21.7 per cent) had the largest declines in percentage terms. Prince Edward Island (+279.7 per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (+122.3 per cent) had the fastest gains.

 

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



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