Top 10 cities with the highest volume of building permits issued include Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton, Oshawa and Milton


Published May 3, 2023 at 8:21 am

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Photo by Rene Asmussen

As life starts to return to normal, the building permit boom is waning but Brampton, Mississauga, Milton, Oshawa and Hamilton are on the list of top 10 cities with the most permits issued in 2022.

For the first time in three years, Ontario saw the number of residential building permits drop after reaching all-time highs during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC).

These permits were for home improvements including renovations, additions, swimming pools, sheds, garages and decks.

“People across Ontario were spending most, if not all, of their time at home during the pandemic and many decided it was an ideal time to take out building permits to update their homes,” said Carmelo Lipsi, MPAC vice president and chief operating officer.

“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.”

Last year, 108,080 building permits were issued across Ontario for new development as well as home improvement. This represents an approximate 11.6 per cent decrease from the previous year, ending a trend of year-over-year increases and returning to 2020 levels.

But despite a decrease from the previous year, permits are still up from pre-pandemic, 2019 levels by 22 per cent (51,597 permits issued).

Mississauga is among a handful of cities that saw an increase in 2022. Building permits jumped 27.72 per cent to 2,041 last year.

Brampton’s number of permits dropped by 22.57 per cent to 6,631 but it is still second only to Toronto. Hamilton is fourth with 4,656 permits, Mississauga is sixth, Milton is eighth with 1,494 permits, and Oshawa rounds out the top 10 with 1,370 permits issued.

Residential home improvement is the most common type of permit with 63,047 issued province-wide in 2022, a decrease of 9.27 per cent from 2021. Toronto remains at the top of the list with 6,803 permits; however, the city did see a 3.2 per cent drop from 2021. Brampton is second with 5,485 permits (down 25.7 per cent from the previous year) and in third was Ottawa (down 16 per cent).

Renovation and addition permits decreased by almost 3.5 per cent, dropping to 37,068. This is still 28 per cent higher than pre-pandemic, 2019 levels, and 15.7 per cent ahead of 2020 levels.

Swimming pool permits are down substantially from pandemic highs, the number dropped by almost 27 per cent with 6,617 permits issued in the province.

building permits mississauga

Shed permits are also down, dropping to 3,409 permits in 2022— almost a 20 per cent decline from 2021. To require a permit, a shed must be a minimum size, so this category includes large, stylish sheds that have become increasingly popular as separate living/workspace or backyard getaway.

Permits for garages decreased with 6,014 issued across the province in 2022 (more than a nine per cent decrease) compared to the 6,579 issued in 2021.

And deck permits decreased in 2022 to 8,257, down about 13 per cent from 2021. Hamilton continued to lead in this category with 572 deck permits issued in 2022 (a decrease of more than 35 per cent from 2021).

MPAC is an independent, not-for-profit corporation funded by all Ontario municipalities, accountable to the Province, municipalities and property taxpayers through its 13-member Board of Directors. MPAC receives notification of these building permits from municipalities, initiating a review of the changes to a property.

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