Island Construction Activity Strengthens in the Second Quarter

Victoria, BC, August 27, 2015 – Steady gains in building permits and low interest rates continued to fuel activity and growth in the construction sector in spring 2015.
Total building permits issued across Vancouver Island, a key indicator of future construction activity, rose 10.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2015 compared to the previous quarter, reports the Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA). The gains drove permits for the first half of the year to a total of $710 million, 12.9 per cent higher than in the first half of 2014.
Residential activity accounted for much of the increase, rising 29.9 per cent over the first half of the year compared to the first half of 2014. Non-residential permits, by contrast, dropped 14.7 per cent over the same period.
“Residential construction activity is showing the strength of Vancouver Island’s construction sector in 2015,” said Greg Baynton, CEO of VICA. “Decreases in interest rates this year are keeping financing affordable which will support future investment in other segments of the economy. Recent market turmoil is not expected to have a negative effect.”
The gains were broad-based, with Comox Valley Regional District alone in posting a decline in building permit volumes in the second quarter. However this drop came following a strong first quarter. Overall, Comox Valley Regional District volumes for the first half of the year were the strongest of any district on Vancouver Island, approaching $104 million, a 151.6 per cent increase from the first half of 2014.
The activity boosted the construction sector during the second quarter so that 33,400 persons were employed across Vancouver Island. For the first half of the year, Vancouver Island employment was 16.8 per cent higher than in the same period in 2014. Victoria was 10.9 per cent higher and the rest of the Island region increased 21.4 per cent.
“Residential growth was the key employer of construction workers in the first half of 2015,” Baynton said. “Overall, permit values should be up five to 10 per cent for the year, signalling ongoing employment opportunities and paving the way for a positive outlook for 2016.”
Baynton added, “While permit values are a key indicator, activity and employment on large projects take time to ramp up and have the anticipated positive impact on the industry and the Island economy, as is occurring on projects like the North Island Hospital Project and large multi-family residential projects in the capital region”.
The Vancouver Island Construction Association is British Columbia’s largest, most inclusive regional construction association, representing 500 construction-related enterprises on Vancouver Island.
As one of Canada’s oldest not-for-profit Construction Associations, VICA has served the construction community since 1912. We’re dedicated to providing support and services crucial to contractors, manufacturers, suppliers and the purchasers of construction services throughout Vancouver Island from our Victoria and Nanaimo offices
Full regional data and graphs are here.