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Investment in building construction, August 2020

Released: 2020-10-07

Total investment in building construction

$16.0 billion

August 2020

5.0% increase

(monthly change)

Total investment in building construction increased 5.0% to $16.0 billion in August. Residential sector investment increased 8.2% to $10.8 billion, while non-residential investment decreased 1.2% to $5.2 billion. As construction companies pushed to catch up on work delayed earlier in the spring, August saw construction investment reach a record high. However, on a year-to-date basis total investment was 3.7% lower than for the same period in 2019.

On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction increased 4.9% to $13.1 billion in August.

For more information on housing, please visit the Housing Statistics Portal.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Investment in building construction, seasonally adjusted
Investment in building construction, seasonally adjusted

Fourth consecutive increase for residential investment

Investment in residential construction rose for the fourth consecutive month in August, up 8.2% to $10.8 billion. Single-unit investment rose 5.4% to $5.4 billion, while multi-unit investment was up 11.2% to $5.4 billion, slightly surpassing single-unit investment levels. Multi-unit investment gains were reported in nine provinces, led by Alberta (+42.4%) and Quebec (+15.8%). The growth in Alberta was driven by the construction of several high-rise apartments in the cities of Calgary and Edmonton. Prince Edward Island was the only province to report a decline for the month (-17.3%). Residential construction values in Canada exceeded February 2020 pre-COVID levels for the first time in August.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Investment in residential building construction, seasonally adjusted
Investment in residential building construction, seasonally adjusted

Infographic 1  Thumbnail for Infographic 1: Residential construction investment, August 2020
Residential construction investment, August 2020

Non-residential investment

Non-residential investment declined 1.2% to $5.2 billion in August, with decreases reported in all three components. Declines were posted in seven provinces, with the largest decline recorded in Quebec. New Brunswick posted its seventh consecutive month-to-month decrease, down 2.1% in August. Despite these declines, August levels remain higher than February 2020 pre-COVID levels for all components except industrial investment.

Nationally, the industrial component was down 1.4% to $895 million in August, with declines reported in seven provinces.

Investment in the commercial component was down 1.5% to $3.1 billion in August. Gains in Newfoundland and Labrador (+12.2%) and Prince Edward Island (+8.3%) were outweighed by declines in the eight remaining provinces.

Investment in the institutional component of non-residential investment edged down 0.5% to $1.2 billion. The majority of the declines were reported in Ontario and Quebec, more than offsetting gains in Alberta, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Infographic 2  Thumbnail for Infographic 2: Non-residential construction investment, August 2020
Non-residential construction investment, August 2020

  Note to readers

Based on the extraordinary events and business disruptions around COVID-19, Statistics Canada has made adjustments to the models used to estimate investment in building construction. As a result of these adjustments, there may be larger-than-normal revisions to the data.

Unadjusted data for the current reference month are subject to revision based on late responses. Data for the previous month have been revised. Deflated data and seasonally adjusted data are revised for the previous two months.

Data presented in this release are seasonally adjusted unless otherwise stated. Using seasonally adjusted data allows month-to-month comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations. For information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

Monthly estimates for constant dollars are calculated using quarterly deflators from the Building Construction Price Index (18-10-0135-01). Typically, the first two months of a quarter use the previous quarters' price level and are revised when the new quarterly price index becomes available.

Detailed data on investment activity by type of building and type of work are now available in the unadjusted current dollar series.

Prior to January 2018, building permits for cottages with a value greater than $60,000 were automatically reclassified to structure type Single. Beginning in January 2018, regardless of value, building permits received from municipalities coded as cottages remain classified as a cottage.

Effective November 23, 2018, table 34-10-0175-01 contains data on both the residential and non-residential sectors. It replaced tables 34-10-0010-01, 34-10-0011-01 and 34-10-0012-01.

Products

A new study titled "Price trends and outlook in key Canadian housing markets" looks at where the housing market was at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, sheds light on what has happened since then, and explores the challenges facing the Canadian market going forward.

Statistics Canada has a new "Housing Market Indicators" dashboard. This web application provides access to key housing market indicators for Canada, by province and by census metropolitan area. These indicators are updated automatically with new information from monthly releases, giving users access to the latest data.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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