Investment in building construction, October 2020
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Total investment in building construction edged down 0.4% to $15.2 billion in October, following a 1.5% decrease in September. 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.
On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction edged down 0.4% to $12.4 billion in October.
For more information on housing, please visit the Housing Statistics Portal.
Non-residential investment continues to show weakness
Non-residential investment continued to decline for the fourth consecutive month, down 3.2% 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% to $2.5 billion. All provinces and territories were down, with the largest drop in Quebec (-13.4% 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% was reported in industrial building construction investment in October. Small declines were reported in eight provinces. Meanwhile, Prince Edward Island was up 19.1% 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%, with the largest decreases seen in Quebec (-1.9%), followed by Ontario (-1.2%). Gains in British Columbia (+2.2%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (+6.6%) 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% in October, a sixth consecutive monthly gain.
Single-unit construction investment led the growth, increasing 3.7% to $5.5 billion with every province reporting gains except for Prince Edward Island. Ontario (+3.3%) and Saskatchewan (+27.7%) accounted for the majority of the increase. Investment in the construction of single family homes was 7.7% 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%) with declines in seven provinces. Manitoba (-24.6%) and Alberta (-9.2%) 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.
Note to readers
Based on the extraordinary events and business disruptions around the COVID-19 pandemic, Statistics Canada continues to make 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.
Data on investment in building construction November 2020 will be released on January 12, 2021.
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 "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.
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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