Construction investment up in December

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Investment in building construction.

Investment in building construction increased again for the month of December to $15.6 billion, with gains in both the residential and non-residential sectors, reports Statistics Canada. From 2018 to 2019, the total value of investment increased by 3.4 per cent to $181.8 billion.

Residential investment was up in five provinces, with notable gains in Ontario (increase of two per cent to $4.5 billion) and Alberta (increase of 3.2 per cent $1.1 billion).

Nationally, investment in multi-unit dwellings increased 2.8 per cent to $5.5 billion. Several major apartment building projects in Toronto led Ontario gains in multi-unit investment, up 7.2 per cent to $2.3 billion.

However, investment in single-unit dwellings decreased in every province except Alberta, leading to a national decline of 2.3 per cent to $5.1 billion.

For the non-residential industry, investment rose in six provinces with notable growth in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba. Alberta declined for the sixth consecutive month, down 1.2 per cent to $695.5 million.

Investment in the institutional market rose 1.1 per cent to $1.1 billion. The ongoing addition to the Université de Montréal hospital centre and several other institutional housing projects led to strong increases in Quebec.

In the industrial sector, investment increased 1.6 per cent to $923 million with notable gains in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia. The commercial component increased for the 23rd consecutive month, edging up 0.3 per cent to $2.9 billion in December.

Year over year

The total value of investment in building construction for 2019 increased by 3.4 per cent to $181.8 billion. Investment increased in six provinces with substantial gains in Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario. Prince Edward Island reported the highest percentage growth in 2019, increasing 50.9 per cent to $851.7 million. The rising population in P.E.I. contributed to a significant increase in the residential sector.

For Alberta, investment in construction fell in 2019, dropping $2.5 billion from 2018. Declines in the residential sector resulted in the majority of this, down $2.1 billion to $11.7 billion, while non-residential investment declined by $400.6 million to $8.9 billion.

Nationally, investment in residential construction increased 2.3 per cent to $123.9 billion. Multi-unit investment continued to grow, while single-unit investment declined for back-to-back years, down 5.9 per cent to $61.3 billion.

Increases in Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec led investment in multi-unit to surpass single-unit construction for the first time on an annual basis. Increased investment in apartments and row homes, along with decreased investment in single homes broadly reflected a national shift toward urban areas, reports Statistics Canada.

Investment in the non-residential sector increased in seven provinces in 2019, up six per cent to $57.9 billion. Growth in commercial and industrial investment more than offset declines in the institutional sector. Quebec and British Columbia combined for over 90 per cent of the non-residential growth largely due to an increase in commercial investment.

Nationally, investment in office buildings had the strongest growth, up 16.3 per cent to $11.6 billion, while schools and education buildings reported the largest decrease.

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