Residential building permits return to pre-pandemic levels, says MPAC

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Municipal Property Assessment Corp. (MPAC), which tracks property data across Ontario, said Wednesday that for the first time in three years Ontario has seen the number of residential building permits plummet after hitting all-time highs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, nearly 108,080 building permits were issued across Ontario for new development and home improvement projects. This represents a decrease of approximately 11.6 per cent from the previous year, ending a trend of year-over-year increases and a return to 2020 levels.

“People in Ontario were spending most, if not all, of their time at home during the pandemic, and many decided now was the perfect time to apply for building permits to upgrade their homes,” said Carmelo Lipsi, vice-president and chief operating officer of the Pickering-based Crown corporation.

“Now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, people are starting to relive experiences and travel again. In addition to rising borrowing costs related to higher interest rates, we are seeing a decrease in permits issued, indicating a shift in priorities.”

MPAC says home improvement permits fell by more than 9 per cent in Ontario to more than 63,000 home improvements, including renovations, swimming pools, sheds, garages and decks. Despite a decrease from the previous year, permits are still up 22 per cent from pre-pandemic 2019 levels (51,597 permits issued).

Here is an overview of some of the data analyzed by category:

Total building permits – 108,080 permits were issued in Ontario, down nearly 11.6 per cent  from 2021. Toronto leads the province with the most permits issued (9,359), down from 9,478 in 2021.

Home improvements – 63,047 permits were issued province-wide in 2022, a decrease of 9.27 per cent  from 2021. Toronto remains at the top of the list with 6,803 permits; however, it was down 3.2 per cent from 2021. Brampton came in second with 5,485 permits (down 25.7 per cent  from a year ago).

Home renovations and improvements – Permits fell nearly 3.5 per cent  to 37,068, though this is still  28 per cent  more than in 2019, before the pandemic.


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