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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

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

December 10, 2018

In October, the value of building permits issued in Nova Scotia increased 12.4 per cent, following a (revised) loss of 21.2 per cent in September. Residential permits increased 13.2 per cent and non-residential building permits increased 10.2 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.  In recent months, residential permits have re-established an upward trend.  The non-residential permits' six-month moving average has remained flat since mid-2017.

The trend in Nova Scotia building permit values largely reflects the trends in the Halifax market. In October, the value of Halifax building permits increased 29.9 per cent, reflecting increases in both residential (+31.5 per cent) and non-residential (+25.8 per cent) permits. The six-month moving average for residential permits in Halifax rose from mid-2016 through 2017 and then declined in the early months of 2018.  Since the spring of 2018, residential permits have been trending upward.  Non-residential permits in Halifax have trended down since last June.

Outside the Halifax market, building permit values were down 7.4 per cent in October, reflecting declines in both residential (-8.8 per cent) and non-residential (-4.6 per cent) permits.

In the first ten months of 2018, the value of Nova Scotia building permits was down 7.6 per cent compared to the same period in 2017.  Residential permits are 10.6 per cent lower than the first ten months of 2017, and non-residential permits are down 1.5 per cent for the period.  The decline in non-residential building permits reflects declines in commercial (-3.5 per cent) and institutional and governmental (-35.4 per cent), partially offset by a 44.8 per cent increase in industrial permits.  Halifax building permits were down 17.2 per cent over January to October 2017, while building permits outside of Halifax rose by 8.9 per cent.

Nova Scotia's five economic regions combined for a total of $123.2 million (unadjusted) in residential and non-residential building permits in October 2018. The largest contributor was the Halifax region, with a combined residential and non-residential permit value of $71.9 million. So far in 2018, building permits (unadjusted) among the economic regions totaled $1.12 billion, of which 67.6 per cent was in Halifax economic region. 

In the first ten months of 2018, the number of residential dwelling-units created in Nova Scotia was down 370 units compared to the same period in 2017.  In Halifax, both singles and multiples created were down on a year-to-date basis.  Outside of Halifax, single units created were relatively unchanged while multiple unit creation was up.

Nationally, residential building permit values were on an upward trend in 2016 but have levelled off since early 2017. Residential building permits increased 4.2 per cent in October. Non-residential building permit values rose through 2017 and peaked toward the end of the year, remaining relatively flat through 2018.  Non-residential building permits declined 7.0 per cent in October.

Comparing the first ten months of 2018 with the same period in 2017, British Columbia (16.9 per cent) and Prince Edward Island (22.0 per cent) reported the largest gains in residential permits, in percentage terms. Saskatchewan posted the largest decline (-25.3 per cent) over this period.

Year-to-date, Newfoundland and Labrador had the largest gains in non-residential building permits (+71.8 per cent) while New Brunswick reported the largest decline (-30.2 per cent).

Total building permits were up in five provinces in the first ten months of 2018, with Newfoundland and Labrador (+23.9 per cent) and Prince Edward Island (+17.4 per cent) reporting the largest gains (in percentage terms). New Brunswick reported the largest decline over this period (-19.1 per cent) followed by Saskatchewan (-15.8 per cent).

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

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