First quarter Canadian investment in non-residential building construction decreased 0.6 percent from the previous quarter to $12.9 billion. The decline was largely attributable to lower spending in the construction of industrial and institutional buildings.
Total investment fell in five provinces in the first quarter. The largest decreases occurred in Quebec and British Columbia. Investment in Quebec was down in the commercial and industrial components, while British Columbia's investment fell in the industrial, commercial and institutional components.
In contrast, Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan recorded the largest gains in the first quarter, mainly as a result of higher spending on commercial construction projects.
Census Metropolitan Areas
Investment decreased in 21 of 34 census metropolitan areas. The largest declines were in Montréal, London and Vancouver. In Montréal, the decrease resulted from lower commercial and industrial investments, while in London and Vancouver all three components were down.
Toronto posted the largest increase in the first quarter, as investment rose 4.3 percent to $2.5 billion. The increase was due to advances in the commercial and industrial components.
Spending in commercial building construction was up in five provinces, rising 0.8 percent to $7.9 billion in the first quarter. It was the third consecutive quarter of growth and was led by higher spending in the construction of office and recreational buildings.
Ontario was by far the main contributor to the increase in commercial investment, followed by Alberta. In Ontario, investment rose 5 percent to $3 billion, mostly as a result of higher spending on office buildings. In Alberta, commercial investment was up 3 percent to $1.9 billion, a second consecutive quarter of increase. Alberta's gain was mostly a result of higher spending in the construction of office buildings, retail and wholesale outlets and hotels.
Conversely, the largest declines occurred in Quebec, where investment fell 7.2 percent to $1.4 billion, as a result of lower spending in several commercial building categories.
In the institutional component, investment declined in eight provinces, falling 1.6 percent to $3.3 billion in the first quarter.
Ontario posted the largest decline, where investment fell 5.3 percent to $1.3 billion, the ninth consecutive quarterly decline. The decrease was mainly attributable to lower spending in the construction of educational buildings and, to a lesser extent, government buildings and nursing homes.
In contrast, Quebec and New Brunswick registered gains in the first quarter, primarily as a result of higher spending on the construction of health care facilities.
Investment in the industrial component decreased 5.4 percent to $1.7 billion in the first quarter. This was mainly the result of lower spending on the construction of maintenance buildings and primary industry buildings.
Overall, six provinces posted declines in the industrial component. The biggest declines were in Quebec and Alberta, largely as a result of lower spending on maintenance buildings.
The biggest increase occurred in Newfoundland and Labrador, followed by Saskatchewan. In Newfoundland and Labrador, investment rose 29.1 percent to $22 million, mostly a result of higher spending on the construction of maintenance and utility buildings. In Saskatchewan, investment increased 6.9 percent to $69 million, the fourth consecutive quarterly gain, mainly as a result of higher spending on utility buildings.
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