Ottawa, ON — Total investment in building construction edged down 0.4 per cent to $15.2 billion in October, following a 1.5 per cent decrease in September, according to the latest numbers from Statistics Canada.
Investment in the non-residential sector fell for the fourth consecutive month in October, remaining below pre-COVID-19 levels. Conversely, investment in the residential sector continued to strengthen for the sixth straight month.
Non-residential investment continues to show weakness
Non-residential investment continued to decline for the fourth consecutive month, down 3.2 per cent to $4.4 billion in October. Investment in commercial building construction accounted for the largest decline of the three components for the month, down 4.7 per cent to $2.5 billion. All provinces and territories were down, with the largest drop in Quebec (-13.4 per cent to $443 million). Over the first 10 months of 2020, Quebec has yet to issue a permit over $100 million for a commercial project, compared with four commercial permits over $100 million for the same period of the previous year.
A decline of 1.7 per cent was reported in industrial building construction investment in October. Small declines were reported in eight provinces. Meanwhile, Prince Edward Island was up 19.1 per cent to $8.2 million, with this increase partly attributed to the construction of an incubator manufacturing facility at BioCommons Research Park in Charlottetown.
Institutional building construction investment reported a slight decline of 0.8 per cent, with the largest decreases seen in Quebec (-1.9 per cent), followed by Ontario (-1.2 per cent). Gains in British Columbia (+2.2 per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (+6.6 per cent) helped to offset these declines. A $43 million long-term care home contributed to the growth in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Residential construction up for a sixth consecutive month
Investment in residential construction edged up 0.7 per cent in October, a sixth consecutive monthly gain.
Single-unit construction investment led the growth, increasing 3.7 per cent to $5.5 billion with every province reporting gains except for Prince Edward Island. Ontario (+3.3 per cent) and Saskatchewan (+27.7 per cent) accounted for the majority of the increase. Investment in the construction of single-family homes was 7.7 per cent higher in October than in February 2020, before the start of the pandemic.
Multi-unit construction investment fell for the first time in five months in October (-2.1 per cent) with declines in seven provinces. Manitoba (-24.6 per cent) and Alberta (-9.2 per cent) reported the largest drops, while Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island reported the only gains for the month in this component. New construction and renovations for apartments in the city of Charlottetown contributed to the growth in Prince Edward Island.