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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

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

January 10, 2018


The value of building permits issued in Nova Scotia increased by 22.7 per cent in November, following a 27.6 per cent decrease in October. Residential permits were up 33.8 per cent while non-residential building permits increased 4.2 per cent. Monthly results for building permits are highly volatile; the six-month moving average of residential permits have trended modestly upwards in 2017 while non-residential permits' six-month moving average has declined in recent months.

The trend in Nova Scotia building permit values particularly reflects the trends in the Halifax market. The value of Halifax building permits increased 30.4 per cent in November 2017 reflecting a rise in residential (46.0 per cent) but a decline in non-residential (-1.6 per cent) permits. Residential permits in Halifax have been on the rise since mid-2016 following a downward trend through much of 2015 and early 2016.  Non-residential permits in Halifax have recently peaked.

Outside the Halifax market, building permit values rose 14.2 per cent in November with an increase in non-residential permits of 9.2 per cent and in residential permits of 18.0 per cent.

Comparing the first eleven months of 2017 with the same period in 2016, NS building permits were up 20.5 per cent reflecting an increase in both residential (18.0 per cent) and non-residential (26.0 per cent) building permits. Non-residential permit gains have occurred with increases in industrial (+19.9%), commercial (+29.0%), and institutional and governmental (+20.8%). 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 185 units, reflecting an increase in multiples and singles in Halifax. However, permitted dwelling units outside Halifax were down 127 units reflecting a decrease in both singles and multiples.


Compared with January through November 2016, year to date 2017 building permit values (unadjusted) were up in three of the five economic regions, with gains in Halifax, Southern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. Permit values were lower in North Shore and  Annapolis Valley region.

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 November of 2016, both residential permits (7.4 per cent) and non-residential permit (8.4 per cent) were up nationally in the first eleven months of 2017. 

Comparing the first eleven months of 2017 to the same period in 2016, Prince Edward Island reported the largest gains in residential building permit values followed by Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Quebec in percentage terms. Newfoundland and Labrador reported a decline. 

Comparing the first eleven months of 2017 to the same period in 2016, non-residential building permits increased in seven provinces led in percentage terms by Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. All three prairie provinces reported declines.

Comparing the first eleven months of 2017 to the same period in 2016, overall building permit values were down in Alberta, while all other provinces observed gains with Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia growing fastest.

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

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