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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, 2019

The value of building permits issued in Nova Scotia increased 13.4 per cent in November, following a (revised) increase of 12.5 per cent in October. Residential permits increased 20.9 per cent while non-residential building permits declined 6.3 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.  Residential permits have since re-established an upward trend.  The non-residential permits' six-month moving average has remained relatively flat since mid-2017.

The trend in Nova Scotia building permit values largely reflects the trends in the Halifax market. In November, the value of Halifax building permits increased 22.2 per cent, reflecting an increase in residential permits (+29.9 per cent) more than offsetting a decline in non-residential permits (-2.0 per cent). 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 0.7 per cent in November, as a decline in non-residential permits (-11.4 per cent) more than offset a rise in residential permits (+4.6 per cent).  Non-residential permits have been trending upward outside of Halifax since mid-2017, while residential permits have trended upward at a more modest pace.

In the first eleven months of 2018, the value of Nova Scotia building permits was down 5.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2017.  Residential permits are 6.2 per cent lower compared to January-November 2017, and non-residential permits are down 4.0 per cent for the period.  The decline in non-residential building permits reflects declines in commercial (-5.2 per cent) and institutional and governmental (-42.5 per cent), partially offset by a 49.3 per cent increase in industrial permits.  Halifax building permits were down 12.8 per cent over January to November 2017, while building permits outside of Halifax were up 6.9 per cent.

Nova Scotia's five economic regions combined for a total of $150.6 million (unadjusted) in residential and non-residential building permits in November 2018. The largest contributor was the Halifax region, with a combined residential and non-residential permit value of $107.6 million. So far in 2018, building permits (unadjusted) among the economic regions totaled $1.27 billion, of which 68.0 per cent was in Halifax economic region. 


In the first eleven months of 2018, the number of residential dwelling-units created in Nova Scotia was down 134 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 down 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 declined 2.5 per cent in November. 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 increased 11.6 per cent in November.

Comparing the first eleven months of 2018 with the same period in 2017, British Columbia (+17.9 per cent) and Prince Edward Island (+24.2 per cent) reported the largest gains in residential permits, in percentage terms. Saskatchewan posted the largest decline (-25.5 per cent) over this period.

Year-to-date, Newfoundland and Labrador had the largest gains in non-residential building permits (+70.0 per cent) while New Brunswick reported the largest decline (-27.6 per cent).

Total building permits were up in four provinces in the first eleven months of 2018, with Newfoundland and Labrador (+21.9 per cent) and British Columbia (+18.6 per cent) reporting the largest gains (in percentage terms). New Brunswick reported the largest decline over this period (-17.4 per cent) followed by Saskatchewan (-16.5 per cent).

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

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