VICTORIA — Building permits on Vancouver Island continue to break records, increasing nine per cent last year, despite ending on a low note.
According to the Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA), permit values reached $2.45 billion in 2018 and construction employment increased 3.8 per cent to 35,700 workers.
“Population and income growth, low interest rates and consumer confidence spurred demand for homes and buildings across Vancouver Island last year,” said Rory Kulmala, VICA CEO, in a press release. “In turn, construction continued to help drive regional economies.”
However, the final quarter of 2018 saw a slowdown, with fewer building permits issued in all regional districts, except in the Comox Valley, which saw no change from the prior quarter.
The total building permits issued on the island for the fourth quarter dropped 16 per cent from the third quarter of 2018 to $481.2 million.
The decline hit all construction categories, with non-residential getting hit the worst with a 38 per cent drop. Residential permits saw an eight per cent drop.
“With the island’s economy expected to expand at a slower pace in 2019 and the housing market to slow in response to tighter mortgage credit conditions, construction activity will likely follow with dampened activity,” said Kulmala. “However, population growth is expected to remain elevated, which will help fuel the market for construction.”
Permits in the final quarter were 11 per cent worse than the same time in 2017, but total spending on non-residential buildings was nine per cent higher in 2018 than it was the year prior. Investment spending on non-residential building construction in the Victoria metropolitan area increased 11 per cent in January to November over the same period last year. Non-residential building construction costs crept up five per cent during this period.