The RPGA Planning District registered a decline in the number and value of building permits issued in 2023, as compared to 2022.
According to an annual report put together by manager, Tanya Waddell, Altona saw 42 permits for a total of almost $8.9 million. In the Municipality of Rhineland, 30 permits worth $7.5 million were issued. In 2022, Altona had 50 permits worth $11.5 million, and Rhineland had 75 permits for $13 million. 

"I think it's the interest rates that people are slowing down on their building," said Waddell. "The cost of materials. People are not as inclined to build a new house and invest.

"I think it's a downturn from the last few years with COVID and the shift in people working from home and not being able to travel, so they spend more money on their own properties to make them more usable and enjoyable and now, that's slowing down because people can travel again and again, the interest rates and cost of materials just adds to it."

When it comes to permits issued for new dwellings in 2023, Altona had about roughly 14 including multi-unit, single unit and two unit as opposed to 24 in 2022. About 12 were issued for the Municipality of Rhineland. Waddell feels the multi-unit trend is gaining popularity in the area.

"Most of the inquiries I'm receiving now are about multi-unit dwellings and where they can put them and how they can make affordable housing and that sort of thing. So yeah, I think it's becoming a lot more popular, trying to condense living space into land that's available and create more units for people to be able to rent or buy at a more affordable rate."

Waddell expects 2024 to be much the same.

"It'll see more multi-family or multi-unit. So, that will probably increase. Unless interest rates go down and cost of materials goes down, I don't see a lot of new builds coming but I don't know the magic number."

As for subdivisions however, 27 were created last year, up from 17 in 2022. This totaled 40 new lots in Rhineland and 14 in Altona.

Meantime, Part 3 permits were up. These are commercial, agricultural or public gathering buildings that are typically more than 600 sq. metres. In 2023, 20 permits were issued for a total value of $23.7 million, as opposed to 6 in 2022 for a total of $1.9 million.