It was a record-setting year for building permit values in Vernon.
According to a 2022 fourth quarter economic and tourism report presented to council Feb. 13, building permit values were up 17 per cent over 2021, setting a new record of $202 million. That total is also 48 per cent higher than the average building permit value from 2017 to 2021 of $136 million.
The record comes despite the fact that the total number of building permits (415) was down four per cent from 2021.
The increase has also resulted in a record year for fees collected through development cost charges, processing fees and contributions to the Development Excess Reserve Fund.
Last year, 471 residential units were approved for construction, exceeding the total units approved in 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021. Contributing to last year’s increased number of approvals was the growth in higher density (multi-family and single-family units with suites) and institutional (seniors care housing).
Real estate sales volumes continued to soften in the fourth quarter of 2022, following a downward trend in the third quarter. The report attributes the reduction in sales to two Bank of Canada interest rate increases during the fourth quarter where 100 basis points were added to the Bank’s key interest rate.
“In total, the key interest rate increased by 425 basis points in 2022 — the largest annual increase in the last decade,” the report states.
Commercial real estate transaction volumes slowed down in the fourth quarter after an uptick in the third. Again, this was attributed to rising interest rates.
Job posting activity continued to temper in the fourth quarter following the third quarter’s downward trend from a peak in June. Job postings in the fourth quarter averaged 538, down nine per cent from the fourth quarter of 2021.
Full-time postings continued to soften in the fourth quarter, well below the 12-month moving average. However, part-time postings remained consistent with the previous quarter and just below the 12-month moving average.
“It’s estimated that consistency of part-time job postings is a result of the consistent need to fill roles in the retail, hospitality and the arts and entertainment industries,” the report said.
In terms of tourism activity, overnight visitation to Vernon shows that 2022 is on track to be a record year for municipal regional district tax collection and estimated revenues for Vernon accommodation providers. Of the 11 months remitted by the province to the city, 10 exceeded the 2017 to 2021 monthly average and “demonstrate that efforts to increase business in the ‘shoulder seasons’ through additional marketing and promotion are working.”