t $648.1 million, building permit activity across Vancouver Island continues to rise.
The numbers are up six per cent in the second quarter of 2019 compared to the first quarter, with residential permits rising 19 per cent while non-residential dropped 25 per cent.
“Residential permit activity was higher in most regional districts over the first quarter, led by a 94 per cent increase in the Nanaimo Regional District, followed by a 62 per cent increase in the Cowichan Valley. We also saw robust activity in Strathcona and Powell River with a 49 per cent and 31 per cent increase in residential permits, respectively,” Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA) CEO Rory Kulmala said.
Big Nanaimo projects include a $64 million, 110-unit luxury condo building and a $27.8 million, 159-unit affordable housing development. In the Cowichan Valley most issued permits were for single family dwellings.
Non-residential activity declined by 25 per cent with the largest swing downward in institutional and government permits at 54 per cent after a surge in in the first quarter. Industrial permits also declined 32 per cent from the previous quarter while commercial permits held firm. Total investment spending on non-residential construction in the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area dropped four per cent in the first five months of 2019 compared to the same time period the previous year.
“Although we are starting to see some highs and lows in our data, the region’s construction industry will remain strong throughout the rest of 2019. Despite a 15 per cent slowdown in residential construction in the Capital Regional District, the residential sector should soon firm up Island-wide in response to lower interest rates and the upcoming federal housing incentive program,” Kulmala said.
A VICA statement said “Non-residential construction will benefit from market conditions conducive to more investment. Total building permits in 2019 will ease back from 2018’s record high to around $2.25 billion, which would be well above historical averages and comparable to 2017’s level.”
VICA’s detailed report is available for download.