Special Report

City Tops $1 Billion in Building Activity for 2010

More than half of all building permit activity in 2010 was residential, and residential building was responsible for most of the growth in total activity over 2009.

By RTH Staff
Published January 19, 2011

Late last year, City Planning and Economic Development Department staff projected that Hamilton would top $1 billion in total building permit activity for 2010. This morning, the City released its monthly report of building activity for December 2010, with the result that overall building activity for 2010 reached $1,096,319,095.

Even adjusting for inflation, this is a 20-year record in real dollars.

Monthly Activity Stacked Bar Chart
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Legend:

The 2010 total is significantly higher than 2009, which was only $733 million and likely reflected the sharp global economic recession that started in late 2008.

While the total is impressive, 53.9% of the monetary total, or $591 million, represents residential building permits. This continues a 20-year trend in which around half of all building permit activity by construction value is residential.

The overall increase over 2009 largely reflects significant growth in residential building permit activity since 2009, which bottomed out at $302 million that year.

Commercial activity was $54 million lower in 2010 than 2009, whereas industrial activity was $31 million higher.

You can view and download city building permit activity data by month and building type from January 2005 through December 2010.

Monthly Data Table with Totals
Year Month Residential Commercial Industrial Institutional Miscellaneous Total
2010 1 $26,033,716 $6,036,300 $2,865,400 $10,335,000 $1,264,010 $46,534,426
2010 2 $45,504,750 $3,565,000 $4,912,000 $4,026,869 $833,350 $58,841,969
2010 3 $65,803,457 $9,901,900 $1,122,618 $12,523,100 $1,676,430 $91,027,505
2010 4 $38,404,767 $36,569,900 $2,817,219 $7,964,100 $717,270 $86,473,256
2010 5 $45,971,617 $11,720,010 $55,779,463 $20,446,830 $1,754,600 $135,672,520
2010 6 $49,470,654 $11,877,000 $8,761,000 $15,699,900 $1,054,884 $86,863,438
2010 7 $92,979,017 $8,482,500 $5,082,200 $12,068,100 $936,287 $119,548,104
2010 8 $64,641,221 $36,475,606 $3,347,325 $25,747,500 $1,190,568 $131,402,220
2010 9 $35,968,235 $23,814,460 $9,021,540 $52,700,900 $1,004,290 $122,509,425
2010 10 $26,298,423 $5,442,605 $30,612,500 $12,827,000 $1,031,050 $76,211,578
2010 11 $26,699,841 $3,605,200 $7,374,570 $12,472,000 $1,511,728 $51,663,339
2010 12 $73,120,758 $6,130,929 $8,054,500 $1,455,779 $809,349 $89,571,315
Year End $590,896,456 $163,621,410 $139,750,335 $188,267,078 $13,783,816 $1,096,319,095
% of Total 53.9% 14.9% 12.7% 17.2% 1.3% 100.0%
Annual Building Activity By Type
Year Residential Commercial Institutional Industrial Miscellaneous Total
1991 $71,624,328 $30,744,258 $32,117,919 $13,175,943 $2,968,171 $150,630,619
1992 $75,641,898 $29,983,229 $19,065,230 $4,141,935 $3,520,611 $132,352,903
1993 $86,713,603 $34,828,531 $42,936,302 $3,664,167 $3,045,678 $171,188,281
1994 $72,909,599 $26,111,005 $18,330,311 $40,667,376 $2,336,902 $160,355,184
1995 $52,824,006 $24,891,579 $29,152,081 $38,243,013 $3,236,326 $148,347,005
1996 $56,331,174 $26,973,191 $38,411,456 $26,914,500 $2,092,491 $150,722,812
1997 $76,189,157 $36,036,357 $36,057,565 $25,020,641 $3,121,311 $176,425,301
1998 $73,758,993 $40,147,238 $38,679,801 $44,431,588 $2,033,503 $199,051,123
1999 $88,806,885 $30,455,302 $11,953,941 $12,020,342 $2,431,617 $145,668,087
2000 $82,858,545 $44,153,551 $24,310,287 $72,603,740 $2,929,665 $226,855,788
2001 $287,621,422 $71,141,096 $97,338,063 $55,240,986 $3,979,497 $515,321,064
2002 $352,759,590 $107,703,082 $150,485,309 $50,435,054 $2,951,608 $664,334,643
2003 $262,214,137 $58,914,038 $252,615,083 $87,276,714 $3,374,797 $664,394,769
2004 $380,297,684 $75,335,634 $60,982,261 $74,466,736 $4,084,400 $595,166,715
2005 $375,133,564 $79,082,418 $106,656,106 $72,466,405 $7,541,108 $640,879,601
2006 $407,331,942 $108,702,496 $85,829,122 $72,266,757 $8,417,498 $682,547,814
2007 $395,335,459 $126,391,840 $210,207,720 $63,337,586 $6,446,743 $801,719,348
2008 $415,430,563 $139,215,985 $202,548,954 $53,002,526 $8,264,422 $818,462,450
2009 $282,169,882 $194,656,100 $85,847,282 $115,039,969 $14,689,153 $692,402,386
2010 $590,896,451 $163,631,410 $188,237,078 $139,750,335 $13,783,816 $1,096,299,091

23 Comments

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[ - ]

By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 14:29:12

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By jasonaallen (registered) - website | Posted January 19, 2011 at 14:38:26

The scale on the graph is all wonky. Any way you can fix that?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 19, 2011 at 14:43:30

The scale on the graph is all wonky.

Can you send me a screenshot so I know what you're seeing? Also, let me know what OS, browser and version you're using. I make no promises concerning IE6.

Edit: Never mind, I see the problem. It should be fixed now.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-01-19 14:45:39

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 14:46:20

notice most of the new construction was not near WH or the downtown.

Gosh, you'd almost think that means the city should do something to catalyze new construction near the WH and downtown....

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By PseudonymousCoward (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 14:47:06

So should we conclude from this data that sprawl is still in the driver's seat?

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 14:54:50

I'm interested as to what caused the large chunk of industrial in May 2010. I don't remember anything happening last May.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 14:55:31

Does residential include new condos, lofts etc.... that were started in 2010? I would assume so since they are residential.

I saw a graph recently which showed the same breakdown -industrial/commercial/res/institutional for other GTA municipalities and I was surprised to see that Hamilton had the most industrial/commercial growth and least residential compared to these other cities. Burlington, Mississuaga and Brampton come to mind.

Thx for the update. Good news.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 14:56:09

I don't remember anything happening last May.

My guess is Canada Bread.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 14:58:28

I found the comparison stats to which I referred earlier:

http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/12...

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 16:28:58

How much does everyone think was spent in the WH downtown area of the billion dollars? I'll bet very little.

Comment edited by hammy on 2011-01-19 16:29:34

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted January 19, 2011 at 16:48:37

Yay Hamilton, continuing our proud tradition of being the next place down the line of bedroom communities along the QEW.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 16:48:47

Jason >> He then informed listeners that in 2009 the City of Brampton had $160 million in commercial/industrial building permits. That same year, the City of Mississauga also had roughly $160 million in industrial/commercial building permits. The City of Hamilton had $309 million in commercial/industrial building permits in 2009 and we are on track for the same in 2010.

Hamilton dropped commercial tax rates from 4.573% in 2008 to 4.324% in 2009, a reduction of $249 per 100k of assessment and reduced them $316 for industrial properties. Mississauga dropped commercial rates by less than half that, saving only $122 per 100k of commercial and $104 for industrial assessment. Brampton reduced taxes on commercial by $114 per 100k of commercial properties and industrial taxes by $95 per 100k.

It would appear that Hamilton's larger tax reductions on property investment had a positive impact on creating more incentive to build here.

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By Avenger (anonymous) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 18:56:15

This is good news as Jason said: "Thx for the update. Good news." But be aware that the spike was mostly due to Council upping the development charges and then implementing the new higher charges as of January, 2011. This means that developers rather than wait to submit building permits until the year of construction, rushed to submit them in 2010 so they could pay the lower rate. That is the major reason for the bump...still good news but an artificial bump at the same time.

Council: one move forward and two steps back.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 23:14:21

It would appear that Hamilton's larger tax reductions on property investment had a positive impact on creating more incentive to build here.

Except, oops, "Commercial activity was $54 million lower in 2010 than 2009". Ideology fail.

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[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 00:36:56

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By z jones (registered) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 00:58:42

So the positive impact that Hamilton's larger tax reductions had on property investment was ... to reduce commercial permit activity by $54 million over the previous year, even though the previous year was in the middle of a severe recession?

Surely even you can't post this shit with a straight face. Give me a smiley emoticon -- something.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 01:12:42

z jones, I think it's more things don't move in a straight line, but as MY comment referenced a one year time frame, you were right to bring up the stupidity of using such a short period for my own theory.

Good point and well done.

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By Ezaki Glico (anonymous) | Posted January 20, 2011 at 05:40:57

pseudonymouscoward: "So should we conclude from this data that sprawl is still in the driver's seat?

The trend since the early '90s, if not before, has been that around 95% of building activity within Hamilton's borders took place outside of Ward 2, and most of that above the escarpment. (This would mean that there should have been about $30m in residential builds during 2010... does that sound about right?). I would normally have expected that a few large public projects (eg. transit terminal, library/market, Lister) would alter that picture significantly, except that they probably align with the roll-out of stimulus spending, which gave priority to projects that would spend the bulk of their budgets by the end of Q1 2010. The goal of this initiative was naturally to goose up spending on shovel-ready projects, providing jobs as well as momentum to a sluggish economic driver, but in the process encouraging a lot of poorly vetted and shabbily executed work as well as potentially skewing the picture -- and perhaps explaining some of the "20-year record" (it having been approximately that long since the last major recession, and maybe the last big stimulus spend). But without a spreadsheet of where the dollars were dumped into the ground, we can't really assess the geographic bias of that billion dollar boom. And in any event I could be overly baroque in my explanation.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted January 20, 2011 at 12:21:28

I'm with Ezaki, this graph tells us about as much about the value of the Canadian dollar as it does about development in Hamilton. It just isn't enough data to draw any real conclusions from.

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By Wentworthst (anonymous) | Posted January 21, 2011 at 03:22:02

> 2009 - $194 million commercial with $692,402,386 total vs. 2010 - $163 million commercial of $1,096,299,091

IMHO, the heart of the problem shows in the 2nd column anomaly.

In a huge trend upwards, the commercial # is wrong to be down; everything else was not only up from a bad 2009, it was historically impressive.

That is the credit-freeze problem I rant about; its not just residential or "downtown", lenders don't like the city for commercial loans.

All our troubles lie in our image, not reality.

Comment edited by Wentworthst on 2011-01-21 03:22:47

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By Ezaki Glico (anonymous) | Posted March 08, 2011 at 08:53:55

I will be interested to see the 2011 year-end follow-up.

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?p=5191467#post5191467

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 08, 2011 at 09:38:15 in reply to Comment 60793

I haven't yet received the February 2011 numbers from the City, but January's building permit activity is rather higher than January 2010: $58.7 million overall compared to $46.5; and $49.6 million residential compared to $26 million.

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[ - ]

By Five Hole (anonymous) | Posted May 10, 2012 at 22:48:49


"@dlkyorkeditor: #Markham saw $1 billion in construction last year and boasts lowest tax rate in GTA, says mayor at Board of Trade lunch. Success by design."

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