Figures from Statistics Canada show the value of building permits in the Victoria Census Metropolitian Area (CMA) dropped by almost 26 per cent to $60.9 million in May 2019 from April 2019. (Black Press Media file photo)

New figures show construction slowdown in Greater Victoria

Value of building permits dropped across British Columbia

Two new sets of figures point to a slowdown in regional construction.

Figures from Statistics Canada show the value of building permits in the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area dropped by almost 26 per cent to $60.9 million in May 2019 from April 2019. The value of building permits dropped year-to-year by 58.7 per cent from $147.4 million in May 2018.

Figures from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CHMC) show preliminary housing starts dropped 57 per cent in June 2019, compared to June 2018.

RELATED: Greater Victoria records drop in building permit values

“June total housing starts in Metro Victoria were less than half of the levels from one year ago,” said Braden Batch, CMHC’s analyst for Vancouver Island. This said, total starts through 2019 were only nine per cent below the 2018 level, he added. Nearly 6,000 units, most of them apartment units, currently remain under construction in the area, said Braden.

“Completions of new units have yet to follow the record-setting pace of starts over the last two years, and a cyclical slowdown in starts is in line with CMHC’s housing market outlook for Victoria,” he said. “Single detached starts were down by nearly a third from the previous year, as demand for these homes at current prices has weakened.”

Looking at the broader picture, building permits across Canadian municipalities declined by 13 per cent to $8.2 billion in May 2019, with declines in British Columbia outpacing gains elsewhere, including six provinces.

“The national decrease was largely the result of the value of permits for multi-family dwellings in British Columbia returning to recent levels, following a significant rise the previous month in response to Metro Vancouver’s impending increases in development costs introduced in May,” Statistics Canada says in an accompanying note.

RELATED: Developers could get a break on development cost charges in Saanich

That last line will likely draw the attention of those who have criticized Saanich’s decision to raise development cost charges. Staff are currently reviewing the effects of granting local developers a three-year delay in implementing higher rates.


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