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New housing construction investment up 10% in December


February 21, 2018
By Statistics Canada
Investment in new housing construction, by type of dwelling. Statistics Canada

February 21, 2018 – New housing construction investment totalled $4.7 billion in December, up 10.0% compared with December 2016.

Investment in new housing construction rose in eight provinces, led by Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia.

Nationally, investment was up for all dwelling types from the same month a year earlier. The $246.3 million investment increase in apartment building construction was the largest contributor, representing almost 60% of the national increase (+$426.9 million) in December.

A $162.9 million increase in Quebec in new housing construction stemmed from higher spending on apartment buildings, which rose 56.6% or by $175.3 million from December 2016. Conversely, singles, doubles and row homes all posted year-over-year decreases in construction spending.

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Alberta recorded the second largest provincial gain in new housing construction investment (+$90.3 million). Increases were posted for all building types, but were mainly driven by a $68.8 million rise in investment in single home construction.

Investment in new housing construction was up by $82.2 million in British Columbia, distributed across all building types, but mainly attributable to spending on apartment building (+$35.7 million) and single home (+$32.4 million) construction.

In December, two provinces, Saskatchewan (-$7.0 million) and Nova Scotia (-$6.1 million), posted year-over-year decreases in spending on new home construction. In Saskatchewan, the drop was mainly due to lower investment in single-family homes (-$8.7 million), which offset the rise in spending on apartment building construction (+$2.7 million). In Nova Scotia, the same pattern was observed, with lower spending on single-family homes (-$8.1 million) offsetting the additional spending on apartment building construction (+$3.6 million).

2017 in review
Nationally, investment in new housing construction totalled $57.3 billion in 2017, up 8.9% or $4.7 billion compared with 2016. This marked the largest annual increase since 2012, when investment in apartment building construction accounted for 54.9% of the total increase in new housing construction. In comparison, growth in spending in apartment building construction represented 16.4% of the total investment gains in 2017. Single home construction ($2.7 billion) led the total annual increase, followed by row home construction, which posted the second largest year-over-year total increase (+$839.7 million).

Nova Scotia led the Atlantic provinces in spending on new housing construction ($836.0 million), with $117.7 million or 16.4% more investment compared with 2016. This rise was led by spending in apartment building construction, which was up $84.6 million (+33.2%). Newfoundland and Labrador was the lone province in the region to report a drop in total investment, down $62.7 million (-16.9%) compared with 2016.

In Quebec, investment in new housing construction totalled $8.7 billion in 2017, up $970.2 million (+12.6%) compared with 2016. The increase was led by spending on apartment building construction, up $636.5 million (+16.5%) in 2017, a fourth consecutive annual gain.

Investment in new housing construction in Ontario rose by $1.8 billion to $23.3 billion in 2017, driven by spending on single home construction, up $1.1 billion or 9.1% compared with 2016.

In Western Canada, British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba posted year-over-year increases compared with 2016. The rise in British Columbia (+$789.8 million) was driven by investment in apartment building construction, up $481.3 million compared with 2016. In Alberta, the increase (+$579.2 million) was the result of spending on single home construction, up $870.9 million, which offset lower spending on apartment building construction (-$374.5 million). For Manitoba, spending on singles house construction contributed nearly two-thirds to the total investment in new housing in the province. Conversely, Saskatchewan reported a year-over-year decline.