September building permit numbers down in Penticton after record year | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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September building permit numbers down in Penticton after record year

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October 16, 2018 - 12:45 PM

PENTICTON - September building permit numbers show a marked decline in activity compared to the same period a year ago in Penticton, but it may be premature to say there is a trend.

The City of Penticton issued 51 building permits last month, compared to 111 in September of 2017.

Building and permitting manager Ken Kunka says there may be a number of reasons why things slowed in September, citing such things as rising construction costs, designers and builders being too busy to take on new work, and the recent “stress test” changes regarding mortgages.

Kunka says the city is surprised at how strong construction activity has remained this year, noting the city’s projections for construction values and building permit revenues have been exceeded to date for this year.

Year to date, the city has issued a total of 748 permits valued at $116,257,497 compared to 818 issued in the same period last year with a total value of $163,230,781.

It’s a similar scenario in the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. Development services manager Brad Dollevoet says building permit numbers are down compared to last year.

“It’s probably too soon to say it’s a trend. It’s slowing, but not significantly, just not reaching last year’s peak, which was a record year,” he says.

The regional district issued 43 building permits this September, compared to 63 issued in the same month last year. Year to date, permits total 367 this year compared to 453 in 2017.

Dollevoet says this year’s numbers are still high, based on the 10-year average.

“It may be the start of a trend, or just part of a year to year fluctuation. If we were to see a further decline two years in a row, that would be a trend,” he says.

Dollevoet says even though permitting was down, the regional district’s planning department has been busier than ever as they deal with large numbers of planning applications.

“People are taking the time to reconsider how they’re using their land,” he says, noting staff are busy assessing applications for retaining walls, secondary suites and other things “not prescribed within zoning bylaws.”

Earlier this month, statistics released by the South Okanagan Real Estate Board indicated September real estate sales had slipped by 46.9 per cent last month compared to September of 2017.

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