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B.C. blows past country with new construction in April 2024

B.C. leads Canada among provinces in value of building permits, new units in April 2024
Houses under construction. (Black Press file photo)

New figures show B.C. leading Canada in new construction during April 2024, but the numbers tell only part of the story. 

The value of building permits in B.C. rose by 81.8 per cent that month compared to March -— well ahead of Canada's overall increase of 20.5 per cent and the second-ranked province of Newfoundland and Labrador with 45.1 per cent. Neighbouring Alberta recorded an increase of 9.4 per cent, while Canada's two largest provinces -- Ontario and Quebec -- recorded increases of 8.8 per cent and 9.7 per cent respectively. 

Building permits issued B.C. in April 2024 totalled 3.13 billion -- up $1.4 billion from March -- and created a record-high 7,521 residential units — up almost 78 per cent compared to the previous month. Based on these figures, B.C. accounted for almost 28 per cent of all new residential units in the country in April. 

Much of the growth happened on the multi-residential side. Of the new residential units created in April 2024, 95 per cent were multi-residential units.

Much of the new activity happened in Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) with Surrey and Coquitlam having issued significant multi-residential permits. Other strong regional gainers were Chilliwack, Victoria and Nanaimo. 

B.C. also led the country in non-residential construction as part of what Statistics Canada calls "broad-based growth." 

But these figures should also be read with caution. The value of building permits and new created residential units can fluctuate significantly from month to month based on any number of factors, including weather.  

Year-to-year, Statistics Canada records 57,788 residential units created between April 2023 and April 2024, slightly less than the 58,383 created between April 2022 and April 2023. 

High interest rates coupled with various shortages have hampered construction across B.C. and Canada for the last year or so,  but the Bank of Canada recently lowered a key interest rate with experts predicting that this cut will be part of a cycle. 

Experts have also praised the recent slew of housing policies, but have also cautioned against quick, immediate changes. 



Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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