TORONTO — For the first time in three years, Ontario saw the number of residential building permits drop after reaching all-time highs during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent report from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC).
Last year, 108,080 building permits were issued across Ontario for new development as well as home improvement. This represents an approximate 11.6 per cent decrease from the previous year, ending a trend of year-over-year increases and returning to 2020 levels, stated a release.
A total of 108,080 building permits were issued across Ontario, down by approximately 11.6 per cent from 2021. Toronto led the province with the most permits issued (9,359), representing almost no change from 2021 (9,478). Kitchener, Mississauga, Guelph and Oshawa saw an increase in the number of permits from the previous year (2,478, 2,041, 1,416 and 1,370, respectively).
Slightly over 63,000 residential home improvement permits were issued province-wide in 2022, a decrease of 9.27 per cent from 2021. The City of Toronto remains at the top of the list with 6,803 permits; however, the city did see a 3.2 per cent drop from 2021. Brampton is second with 5,485 permits (down 25.7 per cent from the previous year) and in third was Ottawa (down 16 per cent).
Residential renovation/addition permits decreased by almost 3.5 per cent, dropping to 37,068. This is 28 per cent higher than pre-pandemic, 2019 levels, and 15.7 per cent ahead of 2020 levels.
Permits for residential swimming pools were down substantially from pandemic highs. The number of pool permits dropped by almost 27 per cent with 6,617 permits issued in the province. Ottawa remains the pool capital of Ontario, despite experiencing a nearly 43 per cent decrease from the previous year. In 2022, 780 pool permits were issued across the city compared to the 1,372 issued in 2021.
Residential shed permits are also down, dropping to 3,409 permits in 2022, almost a 20 per cent decline from 2021. To require a permit, a shed must be a minimum size, so this category includes large, stylish sheds that have become increasingly popular as separate living/workspace or backyard getaway, stated the MPAC report. Ottawa had 122 shed permits issued which was an increase of 14 per cent over the year prior.
Permits for residential garages decreased with 6,014 issued across the province in 2022, more than a nine per cent drop, compared to the 6,579 issued in 2021. Toronto had the most, with 330 permits, an increase of 41 per cent. Only two other municipalities experienced an increase in garage permits last year: Sault Ste Marie with 104 permits (an increase of almost 12 per cent) and the Township of Muskoka Lakes with 81 permits (an increase of more than 12 per cent).
Residential deck permits decreased in 2022 to 8,257, down about 13 per cent from 2021. Hamilton continued to lead in this category with 572 deck permits issued in 2022 (a decrease of more than 35 per cent from 2021).
“People across Ontario were spending most, if not all, of their time at home during the pandemic and many decided it was an ideal time to take out building permits to update their homes,” stated Carmelo Lipsi, MPAC COO, in a statement. “Now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, people are starting to gravitate back to experiences and travel. Coupled with the fact that the cost of borrowing has increased with higher interest rates, we’re seeing fewer permits issued, signalling a shift in priorities.”