Building Permits Down In Lower Mainland-Southwest, Up In Abbotsford

From the VRCA. The Lower Mainland-Southwest Region saw a large drop in building permits in November 2014 while Abbotsford saw permits increase.

Total building permits issued across the Lower Mainland-Southwest Region, typically a key sign of future construction activity, fell 58% in November to $516.5 million from $1.223 billion in October, 2014.

The Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA) reports that for the Lower Mainland–Southwest Region, total non-residential permits plunged 81% to $129.2 million from $691.0 million in October, commercial permits dropped 83% to $61.9 million from $357.2 million, industrial permits declined 15% to $7.3 million from $8.6 million in October and institutional-government permits dropped 82% to $60.0 million from $325.1 million.

“The drop in building permits in November for the Lower-Mainland Southwest Region was anticipated and doesn’t indicate a trend,” said Fiona Famulak, President of the VRCA. “November’s drop followed a record high set in October for building permits.”

In Metro Vancouver, building permits fell across the board in November 2014 compared to the previous month, with non-residential permits dropping 83% and residential permit values decreasing 29%. Year over year, non-residential building permits declined 32% and residential permits were 30% lower.

In Abbotsford, it was the opposite, with total building permit values increasing 103% in November compared to October 2014. Year over year, total building permits rose 4%. Non-residential permits increased 145%.

“Abbotsford’s building permits bounced back in November compared to October’s low on the strength of a large rebound of 1,073% in commercial permits,” said Famulak.

Overall the decline in the Lower Mainland-Southwest and in Vancouver does not indicate a market collapse, just as October’s spike did not indicate a boom.

“With one month of permit data left in 2014, total permits will likely exceed 2013 and be at the highest level since the recession,” said Famulak.

With close to 700 members, VRCA is British Columbia’s largest and most inclusive regional construction association, representing union and non-union, general and trade contracting companies, manufacturers, suppliers and other professionals throughout the Lower Mainland from Hope to Whistler.

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