According to Statistics Canada, total investment in building construction increased 60.1 percent to $13.4 billion in May, partially rebounding from large declines in April. The easing of COVID-19 construction restrictions in May, most notably in Ontario and Quebec, led to growth in all components of residential and non-residential investment. Despite rebounding strongly in May, investment levels remained 16.5 percent below the level observed in February 2020.
Investment in residential construction rose 57.0 percent to $8.4 billion in May. Investment in single-unit construction bounced back 71.7 percent to $4.1 billion, exceeding multi-unit growth which increased 45.2 percent to $4.3 billion. Although Ontario and Quebec reported the largest provincial gains for the month, all provinces bounced back somewhat from sharp declines in April. Despite these strong gains, residential investment remained 22.7 percent lower than February, before COVID-19-related restrictions were put in place.
Non-residential construction investment increased 65.6 percent to $4.9 billion in May. All three components of non-residential investment increased, with gains in Ontario and Quebec more than offsetting declines in five other provinces.
The commercial component represented the majority of non-residential construction gains, up 99.0 percent to $2.9 billion. Nearly all of the increase was in Ontario and Quebec, with both provinces returning to more regular construction activity, but still remained slightly lower than February. Manitoba (+0.4 percent) was the only other province to report growth for the month in this component.
Gains in both the industrial (+35.1 percent) and institutional (+32.9 percent) sectors were also led by increases in Ontario and Quebec. Nationally, while reporting notable improvements, these components were still down 4.7 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively, from February levels.