Ottawa, ON — Total investment in building construction increased 1.5 per cent in December, following three consecutive months of declines. Investment in the residential sector reached a record high of $11.1 billion.
On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction increased 1.0 per cent to $12.2 billion in December.
Non-residential investment remains flat
In December, non-residential construction investment remained at $4.4 billion for the third consecutive month. Ontario reported the largest gain—up 2.0 per cent from November—but this growth was offset by declines reported in five provinces.
Investment in commercial building construction edged up 0.3 per cent in December, driven in large part by Ontario’s growth in this sector (+3.6 per cent to $1.1 billion). The construction of large projects, such as Amazon’s Project Python being built in Ottawa, contributed to the rise.
Institutional investment (+0.9 per cent) also increased in December. British Columbia led the growth with the construction of a new RCMP building in Fort St. John.
Conversely, industrial investment edged down 0.2 per cent, with no significant changes reported in any province.
Investment in residential construction reaches record levels
Investment in residential construction reached a record high in December, up 1.9 per cent to $11.1 billion. Single-unit investment continued to show strength for the third straight month, up 2.6 per cent. Eight provinces posted gains, with Ontario (+2.8 per cent), Quebec (+3.1 per cent) and Alberta (+4.6 per cent) accounting for the majority of the growth. Newfoundland and Labrador posted a decline in this component for the second straight month resulting from high-value renovation projects coming to a close.
Nationally, multi-unit investment increased 1.2 per cent. Notable growth was reported in Ontario and British Columbia, attributable primarily to condominium and apartment building construction.
Quarterly growth driven by residential sector
The total value of investment in building construction edged up 0.3 per cent to $46.2 billion in the fourth quarter, driven by gains in the residential sector (+5.0 per cent). Investment in residential buildings reported a record quarter, with both single-unit (+7.9 per cent) and multi-unit (+2.2 per cent) investment posting gains.
Commercial (-13.4 per cent), industrial (-6.4 per cent) and institutional (-3.2 per cent) investments all declined in the fourth quarter, contributing to an overall drop of 9.8 per cent in non-residential investment. The declines in the second and fourth quarters of 2020 reflected the impact of COVID-19 in the non-residential sector. Prior to 2020, the last decrease was posted in the third quarter of 2016.