Investment in building construction increased in February

April 13, 2021

By: The Working Forest Staff

STATISTICS CANADA — Total investment in building construction increased 4.2% to $16.8 billion in February, posting a record high for the second consecutive month because of continued strength in the residential sector.

On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction was up 3.9% to $13.2 billion in February. Approximately half of the gain in construction investment on a year-over-year basis was attributable to price increases, as reported by the Building Construction Price Index. This likely reflects rising demand and tightening supply for building materials since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chart 1 

Investment in building construction, seasonally adjusted
 
Residential construction investment continues to soar

Consecutive record levels have been reported for investment in residential construction since September 2020, reaching a new high of $12.3 billion in February.

The majority of this growth stemmed from single-family home construction, which rose for a fifth consecutive month, up 9.4% to $6.7 billion in February. Single-family homes being built in census metropolitan areas (CMAs) continued to drive the growth; however, record highs were set both in and outside CMAs. Investment outside CMAs increased 37.6% compared with February 2020, the largest year-over-year increase this component has reported since comparable data were available, back to 2011. The strength of single-family home investment in recent months may be partly attributable to an increased demand for more living space as Canada approaches the end of the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Multi-unit construction investment also rose in February, up 1.6% to $5.7 billion. Investment in Ontario for this component increased for a 10th consecutive month, with ongoing construction projects such as the Time and Space condominium complex in the city of Toronto. Saskatchewan saw growth surge 69.4% in this sector, attributable partly to new projects such as apartment buildings in Saskatoon’s University Heights Suburban Centre.

Infographic 1 

Investment in residential building construction, February 2021

 

Slight increase in non-residential construction investment

Non-residential construction investment was little changed for a fifth consecutive month, edging up 0.2% to $4.5 billion in February.

Institutional construction investment was up 0.6%, with six provinces posting increases. Quebec reported the largest gain, attributable partly to high-value renovation projects. British Columbia reached a record high, with projects such as the construction of Burnaby North Secondary School contributing to growth in this component.

Investment in industrial construction increased 0.5% after two consecutive monthly declines, reaching $810.7 million in February. The continued construction of a national distribution centre for Canadian Tire in Brampton, Ontario, and a wastewater treatment plant in Montréal, Quebec, contributed to gains in this component.

Commercial building construction investment remained at $2.5 billion for the fifth consecutive month. Declines in seven provinces offset a large gain in Ontario, attributable to the ongoing construction of multiple high-value projects in Toronto, Ottawa and Pickering.

 

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