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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

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

February 07, 2018

The value of building permits issued in Nova Scotia decreased by 8.2 per cent in December, following a 20.4 per cent increase in November. Residential permits decreased 4.1 per cent and non-residential building permits decreased 16.7 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 decreased 3.0 per cent in December 2017 reflecting a rise in non-residential (24.4 per cent) permits and a decline in residential (-12.1 per cent). Residential permits in Halifax have generally been on the rise since mid-2016. Non-residential permits in Halifax have recently peaked and are now trending down.

Outside the Halifax market, building permit values declined 15.1 per cent in December, reflecting a decline in non-residential permits of 48.3 per cent and an increase in residential permits of 9.8 per cent.

Comparing 2017 to the previous year, NS building permits were up 22.1 per cent reflecting an increase in both residential (19.4 per cent) and non-residential (28.0 per cent) building permits. Non-residential permit gains have occurred with increases in industrial (+21.1%), commercial (+31.9%), and institutional and governmental (+20.5%). 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. Halifax building permits were up 47.1 per cent in 2017, while building permits declined outside of Halifax by 4.3 per cent.

Annual permitted dwelling units in Nova Scotia were up 297 units, reflecting an increase in both single and multiple units in Halifax. Permitted dwellings of both singles and multiples were down outside of Halifax.


Compared with 2016, building permit values (unadjusted) in 2017 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. Residential building permits increased 8.0 per cent in December 2017. Non-residential building permit values had been trending upward in 2017 after declining through 2015 and 2016 but have peaked in recent months, declining 0.6 per cent in December 2017. Compared to 2016, both residential permits (7.2 per cent) and non-residential permit (9.8 per cent) were up nationally in 2017. 

Comparing 2017 to 2016, Prince Edward Island reported the largest gains in residential building permit values followed by Manitoba, Nova Scotia and British Columbia in percentage terms. Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick reported a decline. 

Comparing 2017 to 2016, non-residential building permits increased in eight provinces led in percentage terms by Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. Manitoba and Alberta reported declines.

Comparing 2017 to 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 026-0005 , 026-0006 and 026-0007
Statistics Canada Cat. No. 64-001-X

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