Vancouver, city on the grow.

That's the best way to assess the City's most recent news release, which showed that Vancouver building permit values reached $1.1 billion in the first half of 2012. That's a 30 per cent increase over the same period in 2011 and 16 per cent higher than pre-recession levels.

"It is fantastic to see such a remarkable rebound in Vancouver construction activity, with over 6,000 jobs created in the first half of this year alone and building permit values now exceeding pre-recession levels," Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a news release.

Building permit values in the first half of 2012 rose for the third straight year, from $373.9 million in 2009 to $653 million in 2010 and $768.7 million in 2011.

Last year's total annual building permit value was $1.7 billion. Just six months into the year, Vancouver looks like it will beat that mark.

Developments contributing to the increase include a 22-storey residential building at 999 Seymour Street, the Vancouver Hilton at 177 Robson and Granville Safeway, which will have two residential towers and retail space.

But residential buildings aren't the only developments making up the increase. Keith Sashaw of the Vancouver Regional Construction Association told News 1130 that Vancouver's building permit values are also being driven by the industrial and commercial sectors.

"There are three (office towers) underway right now, and a couple more working their way through the approval process," he said. "We haven't seen office towers built in the downtown core since the 70s or 80s."

Central 1 Credit Union chief economist Helmut Pastrick told the Vancouver Sun that the rise in building permit values represents a "welcome boost" for the economy, which he said has not been performing as well in 2012 as it did in 2011.

"It's certainly a positive boost," he said. "Construction is one of the few sectors that is contributing to the economy in a positive way."

Also on HuffPost:

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  • 12. Vancouver: $18.9 Million

    <strong>4798 Drummond, Vancouver:</strong> Located in Vancouver's posh Point Grey neighbourhood, this house features 15,000 square feet of living space across eight bedrooms, a circular driveway, fountain and gazebo.

  • 12. Vancouver: $18.9 Million

    The circular grand foyer features marble floors. There is also a pool room (with a steam room and sauna), a media room, game room and recreation room. The garage fits eight vehicles.

  • 11. Toronto: $18.9 Million

    <strong>75 Highland Crescent, Toronto:</strong> This house boasts "breathtaking views of the city skyline." There are four bedrooms and six bathrooms in this "smart home" that features "Porsche design" entry systems, security cameras, a power entry gate and a car elevator.

  • 11. Toronto - $18.9 Million

    The house has a walk-in pool and sauna, a hot tub, a games room and a climate-controlled wine cellar. There's also an outdoor sound system with which to annoy your wealthy neighbours.

  • 10. Oakville, Ont.: $18.9 Million

    <strong>2100 Lakeshore East, Oakville:</strong> This six-bedroom house sits on the shores of Lake Ontario in Oakville, near Toronto. Situated on 3.2 acres, it has 185 feet of waterfront and a boat house.

  • 10. Oakville, Ont.: $18.9 Million

    The property features a triple car garage, a foyer of Italian limestone and a two-story living room. Security cameras can be controlled by way of a security panel. And the view from the back-yard pool can't be beat.

  • 10. Oakville, Ont.: $18.9 Million

    Check out this virtual tour.

  • 9. Austin, Quebec: $18.9 Million

    <strong>105 Chemin Fisher, Austin:</strong> The realtor selling this property suggests you may want to build a heliport to get to this 200-acre estate located in a secluded corner of Quebec's eastern townships. There are several houses on this site, the main one being built in 1927. Another building is described as a "three-season chalet" and is located next to the 120-foot dock on Lake Mephramagog.

  • 9. Austin, Quebec: $18.9 Million

    The property features multiple garages, including a 40-foot-long one. The whole place is so ritzy that a <em>barn</em> on the property was declared a historical site.

  • 8. Caledon, Ont.: $19 Million

    <strong>17485 McLaren Rd., Caledon, Ont.:</strong> No fewer than ten bedrooms and seventeen bathrooms in this house in Toronto's cottage country. The terrain features ravines, ponds and rolling farmland. Not to mention a spa, tennis court, pool room and a hobby workshop.

  • 8. Caledon, Ont.: $19 Million

    The realtor boasts that this property has been "in the same family for almost 100 years." One has to wonder whether this was intentional, given how long this estate has been on the market (it was there this time last year as well.) Nevertheless, a fantastic and absolutely classy dining room in this house.

  • 7. Toronto: $19.5 Million

    <strong>346 Riverview, Toronto:</strong> Located in Toronto's prestigious Rosedale district, this six-bedroom, 11-bathroom house sits on a one-acre lot. Fourteen-foot ceilings, a wine cellar and an orangerie are among the features to be found here.

  • 7. Toronto: $19.5 Million

    The modernist interior design is complemented by a basement home theatre, gym and a spa featuring its own sauna and steam rooms.

  • 6. Vancouver: $19.8 Million

    <strong>4880 Drummond, Vancouver:</strong> Yet another house in Vancouver's Point Grey neighbourhood has made this list, this time a 9,000-square-foot mansion featuring seven bedrooms and bathrooms, and a four-car garage.

  • 6. Vancouver: $19.8 Million

    The realtor promises "gorgeous water views" from many parts of the house, including the kitchen. The property features an exercise room and pool room, an extra-large master bedroom suite (also with ocean views), and this home theatre done up in a slightly art-deco style.

  • 5. Vancouver: $19.9 Million

    <strong>5771 Newton, Vancouver:</strong> There aren't too many private homes to be found on the splendidly isolated grounds of the University of British Columbia, but this property near Northwest Marine Drive is one. Seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms in this 12,000-square-foot home.

  • 5. Vancouver: $19.9 Million

    The house features a "bonus wok kitchen," as the realtor describes it, on top of its regular kitchen, and the house in all boasts a games room, professional calibre gym, an indoor pool and granite floors. The patio is big enough to hold a wedding party, according to the realtor.

  • 5. Vancouver: $19.9 Million

    Check out this virtual tour.

  • 4. Toronto: $28 Million

    <strong>1400-155 Cumberland, Toronto:</strong> This condo in Toronto's Yorkville district (the heart of the film festival) is monstrous by apartment standards: 10,000 square feet on two floors. Four bedrooms, five baths and "breathtaking views."

  • 4. Toronto: $28 Million

    All but two of the condo's rooms open on a 5,000-square-foot terrace. The house features a library and a wine cellar, and comes with no fewer than four parking spots -- a heck of a lot by Toronto standards.

  • 4. Toronto: $28 Million

    Check out this virtual tour.

  • 3. Vancouver: $28.8 Million

    <strong>PH01-1011 West Cordova, Vancouver:</strong> This condo may well be located in the most prestigious apartment building in Canada -- no other building has had units featured in HuffPost's "most expensive" lists quite as often as 1011 West Cordova, also known as The Fairmont Pacific Rim.

  • 3. Vancouver: $28.8 Million

    Penthouse 1 is described as the most prestigious condo in the building, and features two levels of living space and multiple patios and rooftop gardens. With only three bedrooms, the condo works out to $9.6 million per bedroom.

  • 2. Vancouver: $31.9 Million

    <strong>3390 The Crescent, Vancouver:</strong> Villa Russe, as this estate is known, is located in Vancouver's Shaugnessy Heights and features six bedrooms (the master bedroom has three dressing rooms), five fireplaces and eight bathrooms.

  • 2. Vancouver: $31.9 Million

    Given how expensive this property is, we're a little surprised the sellers stress walking-distance access to amenities. But in Vancouver, even residents of homes that feature their own greenhouses, heated pools and fish ponds prefer to walk sometimes.

  • 1. Vancouver: $34 Million

    <strong>5365 Seaside Place, West Vancouver:</strong> We thought we'd show you the pool house first, just because it looks so cool.

  • 1. Vancouver: $34 Million

    This house on a peninsula in ritzy West Vancouver features four bedrooms and six baths over 9,000 square feet -- spacious indeed.

  • 1. Vancouver: $34 Million

    Six hundred and fifty feet of natural shoreline on this property.

  • 1. Vancouver: $34 Million

    The house was rebuilt in 2008, and features geothermal heating and integrated lighting and security. The boat house will fit anything up to 40 feet long, and the garage fits five cars.