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‘Tough year’: Bradford struggling to hit housing targets

Residential building permits drop from 725 in 2022 to just 330 in 2023, with only 120 issued for new homes

Bradford issued far fewer building permits in 2023 than needed to hit its provincial housing target.

According to a report by William Wong, the town’s chief building official, the number of building permits issued by the town fell by 56 per cent in 2023 to just 487, compared with 869 in 2022.

Council received the report for information during the regular council meeting on Feb. 20, during which time Mayor James Leduc acknowledged the town had a “tough year” in 2023.

“We hope the economy changes and we have some growth opportunities in our community to increase our building permit revenue,” he said, and council approved the report without further discussion.

Residential building permits saw the biggest decline, going from 725 in 2022 to just 330 in 2023, when only 120 permits were issued for new homes and 210 permits were issued for homeowner improvements.

Permits for new homes included:

  • Sundance Homes — 34 detached houses
  • Great Gulf — 26 detached houses
  • Cachet Homes — 16 townhouses
  • Serena Homes — 14 townhouses
  • Country Wide Homes — 11 detached houses
  • Custom Homes — five detached houses, three townhouses and two semi-detached houses
  • Firstview Homes — five detached houses
  • Aspen Ridge — four detached houses

According to the provincial government’s housing supply progress website, Bradford only had 254 houses in progress in 2023, or 53 per cent of its annual goal of 477, as part of its pledge to build 6,500 new homes by 2031.

Following the previous report on building permit activity and during the Nov. 21 meeting of council, Wong explained that market forces, and especially interest rates have led to a general slow down in building, especially on the residential side.

Other permits also took a hit in 2023 compared to 2022.

  • Assembly occupancy decreased to 42 from 59
  • Farm building decreased to four from eight

It wasn’t all bad news though, and there were some areas where building permits picked up in 2023 over 2022.

  • Business and personal service increased to 38 from 16
  • Industrial building increased to 32 from 10
  • Mercantile building increased to 41 from 20

While building and inspection services generated $1.1 million in revenue, the department saw total costs of almost $2.1 million, requiring a transfer of $953,495 from the building department reserve fund, which began 2023 with $1.6 million and ended the year with $746,946, according to the report.

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Michael Owen

About the Author: Michael Owen

Michael Owen has worked in news since 2009 and most recently joined Village Media in 2023 as a general assignment reporter for BradfordToday
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