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Investment in building construction, September 2021

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Released: 2021-11-10

Total investment in building construction

$17.5 billion

September 2021

-0.7% decrease

(monthly change)

Investment in building construction declined 0.7% to $17.5 billion in September, continuing a downward trend that started in May. A decrease in the residential sector was partially offset by a small increase in the non-residential sector.

On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction decreased 1.5% to $12.0 billion.

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

Residential construction investment continues to decrease

Residential construction investment decreased 1.6% in September, with Quebec accounting for most of the decline. However, the investment in this component was 21.6% higher than the pre-pandemic value in February 2020.

Investment in single family homes edged down 0.6% to $7.0 billion, with declines reported in eight provinces. Conversely, Nova Scotia continued to show strength in this sector (+13.3%), with its fourth increase in five months.

Multi-unit construction investment decreased in seven provinces, down 2.9% nationally to $5.8 billion. The difference in value between multi-unit and single-unit investment had been narrowing for the past few years, but a noticeable gap has opened up since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Infographic 1  Thumbnail for Infographic 1: Investment in residential building construction, September 2021
Investment in residential building construction, September 2021

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

Non-residential investment up across all components

Commercial investment grew by 1.8% to $2.6 billion in September, with Ontario and Quebec leading the way. Office building construction projects in Toronto and Ottawa led to gains in Ontario, following three consecutive monthly declines.

Investment in the institutional component rose 2.9% to $1.3 billion, with a 7.9% increase in Quebec. Strength in that province largely stemmed from educational building projects in the cities of Montréal and Laval.

Industrial construction investment edged up 0.1% to $824 million, with gains reported in five provinces. Saskatchewan showed the largest monthly percentage increase (+11.5%), reflecting investment in utility and agricultural buildings.

Overall, non-residential construction investment rose 1.8% to $4.8 billion. Despite eight increases since the beginning of the year, non-residential investment was 6.3% lower than pre-pandemic values.

Infographic 2  Thumbnail for Infographic 2: Investment in non-residential building construction, September 2021
Investment in non-residential building construction, September 2021

Residential sector is behind the quarterly decrease

Total investment in building construction decreased 7.5% to $53.0 billion in the third quarter, following substantial growth over the previous four quarters.

Residential construction decreased 10.5% compared with the second quarter, with declines in both single- and multi-unit investment. All provinces posted declines, with the largest in Ontario and Quebec.

Non-residential investment increased 1.8% to $14.1 billion, the third consecutive quarterly increase. Institutional building construction in Ontario and Quebec led the way, partly reflecting increased investment in educational buildings.

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

  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.

Revision

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 and quarter-to-quarter 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 the data 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 as 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 non-residential sectors. It replaced tables 34-10-0010-01, 34-10-0011-01 and 34-10-0012-01.

Next release

Data on investment in building construction for October will be released on December 9, 2021.

Products

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.

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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