Metro Vancouver building permits plummet 30%

The City of Airdrie issued 456 milti-family construction permits in 2012.

The value of building permits has dropped nearly 30% across Metro Vancouver, representing a loss of $228 million during the past year, reports Statistics Canada.

Building contractors in the Vancouver census metropolitan area took out $556 million worth of building permits in May 2013 compared to $784 million a year before.

The Vancouver Regional Construction Association said the decline is due to fewer residential permits being issued.

The VRCA noted that while government and industrial permits in the region have gone up between 129% and 138% during the past year, it expects total building permits to decline this year due to fewer residential permits.

But Joan Elangovan, acting CEO for the Vancouver Economic Commission, said the licences issued in the city, in fact, increased between May 2012 and May 2013, with the value of permits worth $208 million in May 2013 compared to $175 million a year prior.

VEC is collaborating with Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, Surrey and others to introduce a mobile business licence for contractors to make it easier for them to work in different cities.

Elangovan said it’s too early in the process to determine if an inter-municipal licence would boost the value or number of building permits, but it could go a long way towards reducing red tape for both contractors and consumers.