HPAC Magazine

Investment in Building Construction up 60% in May

July 21, 2020 | By HPAC Magazine

Following large declines in April, building construction in Canada began to thrive in May as the economy opened up led by Ontario and Quebec.

Investment in building construction across Canada increased 60.1% to $13.4 billion in May, rebounding from large declines in April.


Investment in building construction, seasonally adjusted (Statistics Canada)

The easing of COVID-19 construction restrictions in May, most notably in Ontario and Quebec, led to growth in all components of residential and non-residential investment.

Despite rebounding strongly in May, investment levels remained 16.5% below the pre-shut down period of February 2020.

Residential Rise

Investment in residential construction rose 57.0% to $8.4 billion in May. Investment in single-unit construction was up 71.7% to $4.1 billion, exceeding multi-unit growth which increased 45.2% to $4.3 billion.

Although Ontario and Quebec reported the largest provincial gains for the month, all provinces bounced back from sharp declines in April. Despite these gains, residential investment remained 22.7% lower than February 2020, before COVID-19-related restrictions were put in place.


Commercial almost doubles

Non-residential construction investment increased 65.6% to $4.9 billion in May over April. All three components of non-residential investment increased, with gains in Ontario and Quebec more than offsetting declines in five other provinces.

The commercial component represented the majority of non-residential construction gains, up 99.0% to $2.9 billion. Nearly all of the increase was in Ontario and Quebec, with both provinces returning to more regular construction activity. Manitoba (+0.4%) was the only other province to report growth for the month in this component.

Gains in both the industrial (+35.1%) and institutional (+32.9%) sectors were also led by increases in Ontario and Quebec. Nationally, while reporting notable improvements, these components were still down 4.7% and 0.8%, respectively, from February levels.



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