Building permits soar to record

Tuesday, September 9th, 2003

Jim Jamieson

Powered by British Columbia and Quebec, Canadian municipalities issued a record number of building permits in July for both residential and non-residential construction projects, according to a report released Statistics Canada yesterday.

B.C. experienced a monthly increase of 16.2 per cent (to $401 million), while Quebec led the country with 35.1 per cent (to $626 million).

Vancouver was one of the leaders among metropolitan areas, where a buoyant demand for residential permits fuelled a 25.6-per-cent increase to $336 million, largely due to multi-family issues. Montreal was the national leader in monthly gains, with a 27.9-per-cent gain to $497 million.

“We’re seeing a lot of activity out there — high- and low-rise condo, single family homes — all of our builders are busy in all sectors,” said Peter Simpson, chief operating officer of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association. “We don’t see any slowdown in this.

“We believe it will continue through 2004.”

StatsCan said approved permits worth $4.53 billion, up 3.3 per cent from June and just shy of the monthly record of $4.59 billion in January were issued.

The torrid pace of permits set a new record for the first seven months of the year. Between January and July, builders took out permits worth $29.5 billion, 9.0 per cent higher than the same period last year.

Fuelled by very low mortgage rates, a favourable job market and income growth, these gains are expected to keep the building sector humming for months.

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