COVID-19 has put a wrecking ball to new construction in Greater Victoria.
The value of building permits in the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) dropped more than 37 per cent in April from March to $63.5 million. Compared to April 2019, building permit values dropped by 25.2 per cent.
These figures mean that the local values dropped faster than in the rest of Canada as the value of building permits issued by all Canadian municipalities dropped 17.1 per cent to $6 billion. According to Statistics Canada, the decrease in April was the largest decline since a similar drop in October 2008 during the financial crisis.
According to the figures, eight out of 10 provinces reported declines, with Quebec (34.1 per cent) and Ontario (20 per cent) recording the largest decreases. While municipalities were still issuing permits in April, Quebec’s decision to shut down non-essential construction activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to it posting its largest month-over-month percentage decline on record.
Subsequent figures confirm the negative effect of COVID-19. Total investment in building construction dropped 3.6 per cent to $15.4 billion in March with declines in both residential (down 3.3 per cent) and non-residential (4.3 per cent) investment. National declines coincided with a drop in construction hours worked in March, as reported by Statistics Canada’s Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours.
While Quebec was again the epicentre of the decline, both on the residential and non-residential side, British Columbia also reported significant drops.
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