Investment in Canadian building construction down 3.6 percent in March

Monday, 01 June 2020 19:52:38 (GMT+3)   |   San Diego

According to Statistics Canada, total investment in building construction decreased 3.6 percent to $15.4 billion in March, with declines in both residential (-3.3 percent to $10.5 billion) and non-residential (-4.3 percent to $4.9 billion) investment. Construction in March was negatively affected by COVID-19 restrictions, especially in Quebec which shut down all non-essential building construction on March 25. National declines coincided with a drop in construction hours worked in March, as reported by Statistics Canada's Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours.

On a quarterly basis, total investment edged up 1.0 percent in the first quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2019.

Quebec (-18.7 percent to $2.0 billion) and British Columbia (-2.9 percent to $1.9 billion) contributed to the majority of declines in residential construction investment in March, outweighing gains in six other provinces. Quebec reported its largest decrease since the beginning of the current series in 2010, down $462.9 million for the month.

The overall decline in residential investment in March was driven by the multi-unit dwellings component, which fell 6.9 percent to $5.2 billion. Six provinces posted declines, with the largest decrease in Quebec (-23.3 percent to $1.1 billion).

The single-unit dwelling component of residential investment rose slightly in March, up 0.6 percent to $5.3 billion. Ontario led in provincial gains, up 5.8 percent to $2.4 billion, bouncing back from a 6.0 percent drop from September 2019 to February 2020. Quebec (-13.0 percent), New Brunswick (-5.0 percent) and Manitoba (-0.5 percent) were the only provinces to post declines in single-unit construction investment for the month.

All three components of non-residential investment decreased in March, leading to the first overall decline (-4.3 percent to $4.9 billion) since November 2018. Prince Edward Island was the only province to report growth in non-residential investment for the month, up 1.4 percent to $18.8 million. The increase was driven, in part, by the expansion of BioVectra's manufacturing facility in Charlottetown.

The commercial component posted the largest declines in non-residential investment, decreasing 4.2 percent to $2.9 billion. Quebec (-14.1 percent) and British Columbia (-4.6 percent) reported the majority of the declines in March, while Ontario was the only province to post an increase, edging up 0.3 percent to $1.1 billion.

The institutional component fell 4.2 percent to $1.1 billion. Seven provinces reported declines for the month, with the largest drop in Quebec (-12.1 percent to $275.9 million).

The industrial component decreased 5.0 percent to $886.7 million in March, with declines in eight provinces.

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