Oct 7, 2020
Total investment in building construction increased 5.0% to $16.0 billion in August. Residential sector investment increased 8.2% to $10.8 billion, while non-residential investment decreased 1.2% to $5.2 billion. As construction companies pushed to catch up on work delayed earlier in the spring, August saw construction investment reach a record high. However, on a year-to-date basis total investment was 3.7% lower than for the same period in 2019.
On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction increased 4.9% to $13.1 billion in August.
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Fourth consecutive increase for residential investment
Investment in residential construction rose for the fourth consecutive month in August, up 8.2% to $10.8 billion. Single-unit investment rose 5.4% to $5.4 billion, while multi-unit investment was up 11.2% to $5.4 billion, slightly surpassing single-unit investment levels. Multi-unit investment gains were reported in nine provinces, led by Alberta (+42.4%) and Quebec (+15.8%). The growth in Alberta was driven by the construction of several high-rise apartments in the cities of Calgary and Edmonton. Prince Edward Island was the only province to report a decline for the month (-17.3%). Residential construction values in Canada exceeded February 2020 pre-COVID levels for the first time in August.
Non-residential investment declined 1.2% to $5.2 billion in August, with decreases reported in all three components. Declines were posted in seven provinces, with the largest decline recorded in Quebec. New Brunswick posted its seventh consecutive month-to-month decrease, down 2.1% in August. Despite these declines, August levels remain higher than February 2020 pre-COVID levels for all components except industrial investment.
Nationally, the industrial component was down 1.4% to $895 million in August, with declines reported in seven provinces.
Investment in the commercial component was down 1.5% to $3.1 billion in August. Gains in Newfoundland and Labrador (+12.2%) and Prince Edward Island (+8.3%) were outweighed by declines in the eight remaining provinces.
Investment in the institutional component of non-residential investment edged down 0.5% to $1.2 billion. The majority of the declines were reported in Ontario and Quebec, more than offsetting gains in Alberta, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.