Residential sector led total investment in construction for March

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Investment in building construction, seasonally adjusted. Graph by Statistics Canada

Ottawa, ON — Investment in residential construction increased in March for the eleventh straight month. Up 7.6 per cent, residential construction saw $14.0 billion worth of investment, reports Statisics Canada.

For single units, investment jumped 10.7 per cent to 7.8 billion, with Quebec leading the way with an increase of 30.4 per cent. This brings investment in single homes in Quebec to $1.9 billion. For Ontario, investment was up 9.8 per cent to $3.3 billion, driven by renovations to single-family homes in the census metropolitan area of Toronto.

Growth in multi-unit construction continued, up 3.9 per cent to $6.2 billion. Gains in Quebec and Ontario led the overall increase to this component, as six provinces reported declines. Both new construction and renovations of condominiums and apartments in the cities of Toronto and Montréal accounted for most of the growth.

Total investment

Overall, building construction increased 5.9 per cent to $18.6 billion. On a constant dollar basis, investment was up 5.2 per cent to $14.3 billion.

For the non-residential construction industry, investment rose 1.1 per cent to $4.6 billion in March, with all components posting slight increases. Despite this gain, commercial and industrial investment was below pre-pandemic levels.

Institutional construction investment was up 2.2 per cent to $1.2 billion. Multiple high-value projects in Montréal contributed to the 2.6 per cent increase in Quebec, where investment totalled $315 million in March.

British Columbia recorded another strong month, with the construction of new schools in Burnaby, North Vancouver, and Vancouver.

Commercial building construction rose 0.8 per cent to $2.6 billion, with six provinces recording slight gains. Large office building renovation projects in Edmonton and Calgary contributed to the 1.7 per cent gain in Alberta for this component.

Industrial construction investment edged up 0.4 per cent to $823 million in March. Increases in Ontario, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec offset six provincial declines.

First-quarter

The total value of investment in building construction rose 9.3 per cent to $53.1 billion in the first quarter, stemming from continued strength in the residential sector. Investment for residential buildings reached $39.5 billion, largely because of increased spending on single units in Ontario and Quebec.

Non-residential investment rose 1.1 per cent to $13.6 billion in the first quarter, following a six per cent decline in the previous quarter. Institutional construction increased three per cent in the first quarter, driven by British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador, which recorded their highest levels for this component since the start of the series back in 2010.

Nova Scotia jumped 55 per cent, reporting the highest quarterly value since the third quarter of 2014.

Commercial construction advanced slightly compared with the fourth quarter of 2020, with the gain largely due to strength in Ontario. However, investment in this component was still below pre-pandemic levels.

The industrial component edged down 0.2 per cent, largely as a result of declines in Alberta.

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