January Investment in Building Construction Sets New Record

Investment in Building Construction - January 2021

Mar 10, 2021

Total investment in building construction reached $16.0 billion for the first time on record, up 2.8% from December, based on continued strength in the residential sector, while non-residential construction remained flat for the fourth consecutive month. 

On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction increased 3.0% to $12.6 billion in January.

Residential construction investment continues to rise

Investment in residential construction rose 3.9% to $11.6 billion in January, following a record high in December 2020. Gains were reported in every province except Manitoba. Ontario was the largest contributor, accounting for over one-third of the growth. 

A fourth consecutive monthly increase was reported in single-unit construction investment, up 4.0%. With the exception of a large drop in April 2020 related to the COVID-19 pandemic, this component has increased eight times in the last nine months. While Ontario remained as the provincial leader in this component, Nova Scotia and Quebec both reached record highs. 

Multi-unit construction investment increased 3.7% on sustained growth in new construction and renovations in large condominium apartment projects. Multi-unit construction investment has been rising in Ontario from May 2020 to January 2021, with the majority of the investment reported in the census metropolitan area of Toronto.

Non-residential construction investment remains flat

Non-residential construction investment held steady for the fourth consecutive month at $4.4 billion in January. 

Institutional construction investment rose 0.6%, up in seven provinces, led by Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. Renovations to a hospital in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as the construction associated with the Nova Scotia Community College, contributed to the growth in these two provinces. 

Investment in commercial building construction edged up 0.2%. Increases in five provinces more than offset declines in the other provinces. Investment in Ontario rose for the third consecutive month, attributable to the construction of high-value office buildings in the cities of Toronto and Ottawa, Amazon’s ongoing Project Python in Ottawa, as well as an indoor recreational building in Pickering as part of the planned Durham Live tourist district. 

Industrial construction investment dipped 0.4% to $804 million. This was the second consecutive monthly decline, with Alberta (-5.1%) and Manitoba (-2.9%) posting the largest decreases. Investment in this component fell to its lowest level since January 2018, excluding the low level reported in April 2020 related to COVID-19 shutdowns.

Source: Statistics Canada, www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/210308/dq210308a-eng.htm?CMP=mstatcan

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