Canadian Residential Construction Investment Up 8.8% in 1Q

Acquisition costs for new dwelling units built and renovation spending accounted for much of the gain.

Canadian residential construction investment totaled C$25billion (US$20.1 billion) in the first quarter, up 8.8 percent from the same quarter in 2014. While investment in new housing construction (+4.2 percent) also increased, acquisition costs for new dwelling units built (+38 percent) and renovation spending (+7.4 percent) accounted for much of the gain at the national level.

Total investment in residential construction increased in eight provinces in the first quarter, with Ontario posting the largest advance, followed by British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec.

Ontario's advance, 14 percent to C$9.6 billion (US$7.7 billion), resulted mainly from increased acquisition costs related to new dwelling units completed and, to a lesser degree, higher spending in renovation work and higher investment in the construction of single-family houses as well as converted dwellings.

The increase in British Columbia, 6.6 percent to C$4.1 billion (US$3.3 billion), came mainly from higher investment in renovations of existing residential buildings and single-family house construction. Alberta's gain, 4.4 percent to C$4.4 billion (US$3.5 billion), was mostly attributable to higher investment in new residential buildings, mainly from apartments and apartment-condominium buildings as well as single-family dwellings.

Total investment in Saskatchewan was up 21.6 percent to C$919 million (US$738.3 million), due to higher renovation spending, which offset a decline in new housing construction investment.

The increase in Quebec, 3.2 percent to C$4.1 billion (US$3.3 billion), was the result of higher renovation spending, which offset the drop in single-family dwelling investment.

Declines were registered in Newfoundland and Labrador, down 9.5 percent to C$260 million (US$208.9 million), and New Brunswick, down 1.8 percent to C$228 million (US$183.2 million).

The decrease in Newfoundland and Labrador stemmed from a 23.6 percent decline in new residential construction investment, which more than offset the increase in renovation spending. In New Brunswick, lower spending in every component contributed to the decline, except renovation as well as residential dwelling conversion.

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