Investment in Canadian building construction up 4.2 percent in February

Investment in Canadian building construction up 4.2 percent in February

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According to Statistics Canada, total investment in building construction increased 4.2 percent to $16.8 billion in February, posting a record high for the second consecutive month because of continued strength in the residential sector.

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 percent 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 percent 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 percent 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 percent in this sector, attributable partly to new projects such as apartment buildings in Saskatoon’s University Heights Suburban Centre.

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

Institutional construction investment was up 0.6 percent, 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 percent after two consecutive monthly declines, reaching $810.7 million in February. The continued construction of a national distribution center for Canadian Tire in Brampton, Ontario, and a waste water 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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