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Ontario sees residential building permits decrease after pandemic highs

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After reaching record highs during the pandemic, Ontario experienced a drop in the number of residential building permits issued for the first time in three years.

According to data from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), 108,080 building permits were issued for new developments and home improvements—an 11.6 per cent decrease from the previous year. 

Carmelo Lipsi, MPAC vice president and chief operating officer, explains, “Now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, people are starting to gravitate back to experiences and travel. Coupled with the fact that the cost of borrowing has increased with higher interest rates, we’re seeing fewer permits issued, signalling a shift in priorities.”


Residential home improvement permits down by 9%


MPAC also reports a decrease of more than nine per cent in residential home improvement permits, with over 63,000 issued for renovations, additions, swimming pools, sheds, garages, and decks. Despite the decline, permits are still up 22 per cent from pre-pandemic 2019 levels.


Toronto leads in total permits, but most municipalities see a decrease


Toronto led the province with the most permits issued at 9,359, which is almost unchanged from the previous year. However, most municipalities experienced a decrease in the number of permits issued. Kitchener, Mississauga, Guelph, and Oshawa saw an increase in the number of permits compared to the previous year.

Building Permits Campaign ENG 2 (CNW Group/Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC))


Renovations/additions and decks also down


Residential renovations/additions decreased by almost 3.5 per cent to 37,068 permits, which MPAC reports is still 28 per cent higher than pre-pandemic 2019 levels. Meanwhile, deck permits decreased by approximately 13 per cent to 8,257 permits, with Hamilton continuing to lead in this category with 572 deck permits issued in 2022.


Swimming pools and sheds see significant decreases


Residential swimming pool permits dropped by almost 27 per cent, with 6,617 permits issued in the province. Ottawa remains the pool capital of Ontario, but experienced a nearly 43 per cent decrease in permits issued from the previous year. 

Shed permits also decreased by almost 20 per cent to 3,409, with large, stylish sheds that have become increasingly popular as separate living/workspace or backyard getaway. Ottawa saw a 14 per cent increase in shed permits issued over the previous year.


Garage permits decrease in most municipalities


Permits for residential garages also decreased in most municipalities, with 6,014 issued across the province in 2022, representing more than a nine per cent decrease from the previous year. Toronto had the most, with 330 per mits (an increase of 41 per cent),

Only two other municipalities saw an increase: Sault Ste. Marie, and the Township of Muskoka.


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