Permit values hold steady

Building permit values in the Lower Mainland-Southwest region held steady in August and are up year-to-date, according to Vancouver Regional Construction Association’s analysis of the latest Statistics Canada building permit report released earlier this month.

“Building permit values in the Lower Mainland-Southwest region held fairly steady in August compared to July,” says Keith Sashaw, president of the Vancouver Regional Construction Association.

Total building permit values in the region edged up four per cent to $600.8 million in August from $577.7 million in July 2011. Non-residential permit values fell back 29 per cent to $163 million from $229.3 million during the same period, while the value of residential permits rose 26 per cent to $437.9 million from $348.4 million.

“Overall, building permit values in the Lower Mainland-Southwest region were up eight per cent this year compared to last year,” says Sashaw.  “This reinforces confidence in the local economy and the overall growth underway.”

Total building permit values in the Lower Mainland-Southwest region rose eight per cent to $4.23 billion in the first eight months of this year compared to $3.92 billion in the same period last year. Non-residential permits were up 23 per cent to $1.41 billion from $1.15 billion. Residential permit values rose to $2.82 billion, up two per cent.

“We aren’t concerned about the monthly declines in non-residential permits; the August drop-off in commercial permits following a substantial jump in July was the main reason behind the decline,” says Sashaw. “Monthly volatility is a strong feature of building permits and total non-residential permits were 23 per cent higher in the first eight months of this year compared to the same period last year.”

“While Metro Vancouver permit activity slipped in August, the commercial real estate sector is coming alive with more investment in office towers in downtown Vancouver,” says Sashaw. “These projects have yet to appear in building permits.”

Gains in Metro Vancouver’s industrial permits are also a sign of an improving market, says VRCA. Industrial permits are on track for a substantial rise this year and the first annual increase since 2006.

Seasonally adjusted total building permits in Metro Vancouver slipped five per cent to $494.1 million seasonally adjusted in August 2011 compared to $519.7 million in July.

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