Building permits, new housing starts down in city

The total value of building permits issued by the City of Prince George to the end of August was down roughly 10 per cent compared to the last two years, despite posting solid numbers in July and August.

As of Aug. 31, the city had issued a total of 353 building permits worth an estimated $131.1 million, according to a pair of reports presented to city council on Monday. In the first eight months of 2019, the city had issued 413 permits worth $146.1 million and in the same period in 2018 the city had issued 348 permits worth $147.2 million.

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"Even in the midst of COVID-19, we're at (90) per cent of the previous year," Coun. Garth Frizzell said. "This is pretty good news. People see a future here."

The sharpest decline was in permits for new housing starts. By the end of August the city had only issued 64 permits for new single-family homes, worth a combined $31.2 million – a more than 40 per cent decline, compared to the previous two years.

In 2019, the city had approved permits for 98 homes worth nearly $53.3 million by Aug. 31, and in the same period in 2018, it approved permits for 104 homes worth roughly $57.9 million.

However, a pair of permits issued over by the city for a new mixed commercial/residential development and the new city pool being built downtown helped make up some of the loss seen in residential construction.

In July, the city issued a permit for the construction of Primex Properties' commercial/condo project on George Street, worth an estimated $9 million. And in August, the city approved a building permit for the new downtown pool, with a value estimated at $35 million.

Excluding the $35 million public project, building permit values were down nearly 35 per cent compared to 2019.

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