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Vancouver development permits surged before building fees increase implemented

By FRANCES BULA for The Global and Mail

The regional fees for development had been already penciled in at $250,000 for one of Domus Homes’s major projects, a 200-plus-unit tower.

Then, as the deadline approached for dramatically increased Metro Vancouver fees, it became obvious the bill would go up to $750,000 after May 1. So Domus principal Richard Wittstock and his team went into overdrive to get all their building permits through by April 30 to save a half million dollars.

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He was just one of many developers who did the same in April, pushing the volume of building permits in the Vancouver metropolitan region to $1.9-billion – well over double what they had been in April of 2018.

The surge was so pronounced that it accounted for most of the increase in Canadian building permits over all in April, which hit almost $7-billion, an increase of 11 per cent over April the previous year.

Many who work in or watch the industry say the level of activity is unlikely to continue, though. Instead, they expect to see a general slowdown in building for some time to come.

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