Building Permits Rebound, Island-Wide

November 27, 2020

Construction Activities Will Continue To Play A Significant Role In Vancouver Island’s Economy Recovery

Rory Kulmala

VANCOUVER ISLAND – The total value of building permits issued on Vancouver Island during the third quarter of 2020 rebounded to $681.6 million, or 40 per cent above the second quarter of 2020.

This gain came mainly from non-residential permits which rose 252 per cent to $254.5 million with commercial permits jumping 416 per cent to $210.5 million. Institutional-government permits rose by 66 per cent to $28 million in the quarter, while industrial permits fell 31 per cent.

Residential building permits edged three per cent higher over the second quarter but decreased 13 per cent compared to the third quarter of 2019.

“Interest in communities across the Island has been strong during the last number of years, and despite the coronavirus pandemic, shows signs of continuing,” said Rory Kulmala, CEO of the Vancouver Island Construction Association.

The Island’s construction rebound was evident in all regional districts and was broadly based in most instances. The Comox Valley surged 123 per cent, Strathcona was 52 per cent higher and the Capital Regional District saw a 42 per cent jump.

Leading in residential building activity was the Powell River Regional District with a 363 per cent increase, followed Mount Waddington Regional District with a 216 per cent increase and the Comox Regional Valley with a 123 per cent increase.

Building permits are a lead indicator of activity in the construction industry

“Smaller communities continue to experience a significant amount of residential building as demand for housing increases, said Kulmala. “We suspect retirees are continuing to come here in search of affordable housing options. As well, as more employees in urban areas shift to working from home, rural towns and villages are becoming more popular because of their lower home prices and increased livability.”

In Victoria investment spending on non-residential building construction in the Victoria metropolitan area rose in the three months ending in September due to a rebound in commercial and public permits.

Building permits are a leading indicator of activity in the construction industry,” said Kulmala. “Construction – both residential and non-residential continues to weather the pandemic despite continued uncertainty,”

Construction activities will continue to play a significant role in Vancouver Island’s economy recovery during and following this pandemic.

The outlook depends on the pandemic’s path. If the second wave doesn’t cause further movement restrictions, the 2021 outlook becomes brighter and construction would likely increase over this year. Overall, the pandemic will result in less construction activity on the island this compared to last year.

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