Investment in building construction, May 2021
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Investment in building construction cooled slightly in May, decreasing 1.9% to $19.4 billion. This was the first drop in seven months. Residential construction investment (-2.7%) was down for the first time since April 2020, while non-residential construction increased slightly.
On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction declined 2.7% to $14.8 billion in May.
Residential investment declines for the first time since April 2020
Residential construction was down 2.7% in May, bringing total investment to $14.8 billion with declines in both single and multi-unit construction.
Investment in single-family homes was down 2.7% to $8.3 billion. Quebec and Ontario posted the largest declines. Despite the decrease this month, single-unit investment remained approximately 60.0% above pre-COVID-19 levels.
With half of the provinces decreasing, multi-unit construction investment fell 2.6% to $6.5 billion in May. Quebec reported the largest decline (-11.0%), reversing a 13.0% increase in April.
Non-residential investment posts small gains
Non-residential investment increased 0.6% to $4.7 billion in May.
Investment in commercial construction increased 0.8% to $2.6 billion. Ontario continued to lead this component with multiple high-value construction projects in the works across the province such as Amazon fulfillment centres, the Labourers Union office building in Vaughan and a Canadian Tire distribution centre in Brampton.
Institutional investment continued to grow for the seventh consecutive month, up 1.2% to $1.2 billion. Quebec led the way, advancing 3.7% to $341 million. Ontario, Alberta and Prince Edward Island were the other provinces to report notable gains.
Seven provinces saw declines in industrial construction, which decreased 0.7% to $837 million nationally in May.
Note to readers
Based on the extraordinary events and business disruptions related to 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. Seasonally adjusted data for the previous two months have also been revised.
Data presented in this release are seasonally adjusted with current dollar values 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 in constant dollars are calculated using quarterly deflators from the Building Construction Price Index (Table 18-10-0135-01). Typically, the first two months of a quarter use the previous quarter's 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 the 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 the 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 for June will be released on August 12.
A 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 automatically updated 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).