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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Doug McCann Research and Statistics Officer
Tel: 902-424-2141Email:

October 10, 2017

The value of building permits issued in Nova Scotia decreased by 8.5 per cent in August, following a 2.4 per cent increase in July. Residential permits were down 5.4 per cent while non-residential building permits decreased 17.0 per cent. Monthly results for building permits are highly volatile; the six-month moving average of both residential and non-residential permits have trended modestly upwards in 2017.

The trend in Nova Scotia building permit values particularly reflects the trends in the Halifax market. The value of Halifax building permits increased 4.1 per cent in August 2017 reflecting an increase in non-residential (53.2 per cent) and a decline in residential (-6.7 per cent) permits. Residential and non-residential permits in Halifax have been on the rise since mid-2016 following a downward trend through much of 2015 and early 2016.

Outside the Halifax market, building permit values decreased 28.0 per cent in August with a decrease in non-residential permits of 67.9 per cent and a decrease in residential permits of 2.6 per cent.

Comparing the first eight months of 2017 with the same period in 2016, NS building permits were up 22.2 per cent reflecting an increase in both residential (17.1 per cent) and non-residential (34.0 per cent) building permits. Non-residential permit gains have occurred with increases in industrial (+10.0%), commercial (+43.9%), and institutional and governmental (+23.7%). Commercial building permits account for the majority of the dollar increase in non-residential permits with increasing permits for trade/service buildings, office buildings and the hotels/restaurants category.

Year-to date permitted dwelling units in Nova Scotia were up 110 units, reflecting an increase in multiples and singles in Halifax. However, permitted dwelling units outside Halifax were down 105 units reflecting a decrease in multiple units.


Compared with January through August 2016, in January through August 2017 building permit values (unadjusted) were up in two economic regions, with the largest gains in Halifax, followed by Southern Nova Scotia. Permit values were lower in North Shore, while values were virtually unchanged in Cape Breton and Annapolis Valley.

Nationally, residential building permit values were on an upward trend in 2016 but have levelled off in 2017. Non-residential building permit values have picked up in 2017 after declining through 2015 and 2016. Compared to January through August of 2016, both residential permits (13.0 per cent) and non-residential permit (1.7 per cent) were up nationally in the first eight months of 2017. 

Comparing the first eight months of 2017 to the same period in 2016, among other provinces Manitoba reported the largest gains in residential building permit values followed by Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia in percentage terms. Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick reported declines. 

Comparing the first eight months of 2017 to the same period in 2016, non-residential building permits increased in six provinces led in percentage terms by Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick. Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta reported declines.

Comparing the first eight months of 2017 to the same period in 2016, overall building permit values were down in Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta, while all other provinces observed gains.

Sources: CANSIM 026-0006 and 026-0005
Statistics Canada Cat. No. 64-001-X

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