The Value of Building Permit Data

When evaluating the housing market, the majority of individuals rely heavily on data that is directly dependent on ‘sold’ data. This is information based on property appraisals/assessments, mortgage financing and sales transaction.

While this information is very important, it only makes up part of the picture when it comes to real estate market dynamics. Building permits and the data associated with their issuance is an integral part of a property’s life cycle, yet often gets overlooked.

For example, there was ~$299 billion in permits issued (StatsCan) in 2018 that represented over 1.3 million permits (StatsCan). Compare that to ~458,000 dwellings sold (StatsCan) in the same year, and you can see that the pool of permit information virtually triples the number of dwellings sold.

Evidently, permit data can greatly supplement sales data that already exists.

What is permit data?

A building permit (simply shortened to ‘permit’ in this context) is considered formal permission to begin the construction, demolition, addition or renovation on a property.   Understandably, there are different types of permits depending on what will be done to your property.

The data allows provides:

  • Address of the property
  • Property type/structure type (residential or commercial)
  • Description of the work done, and
  • Estimated construction cost.

Information varies based on the issuing municipality however it typically includes additional data such as the issued date, the date the permit was closed (completion of work), the type of permit, and the spatial location (latitude/longitude) where the work is taking place.

What is the value of permit data?

As previously mentioned, the value of permit data is often overlooked.

The information associated with permits captures ALL development and renovation activity in both the commercial and residential sectors. Additionally, it reflects which properties are changing, in what way and at what cost.  For example, using permit information we can measure changes in land use and the potential impact these changes have on the remaining property stock in the immediate area over time.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it provides a new perspective for analysis, acting as the ‘top of the funnel’ (leading indicator) of the real estate market.

How can permit data be used for? 

  1. Know the history and status of specific properties – Underwriting due diligence
  2. Understand property and valuation trends in key markets – Portfolio analysis
  3. Understand property development dynamics in key markets (what’s hot, what’s not?) – Market analysis and market development tools

Where can I get permit data?

One of the problems with having multiple issuing authorities is that schemas (the fields/columns made available) vary greatly.

Currently, DMTI is offering building permit data for major markets across Canada in a standardized schema. This data can be used to help understand the history and status of specific properties, the risk and valuation trends in key Canadian markets and the areas most likely to change when it comes to home price and volume.

In some instances, this data covers over 10 years of issued permits. The dataset itself will be maintained on a quarterly basis. Customers will be able to filter on the type of permit, the total value of the permit, the issue date, whether or not the permit has closed (where available) and more!

Where can I get sample data from?

Contact us today and we will send you a sample of permit data.