Regina Leader Post, March 22, 2016- The Prairies bucked the national trend in January, posting double-digit declines in the value of new housing construction, compared with a four per cent increase nationally, according to Statistics Canada.
Saskatchewan saw the biggest plunge in percentage terms among the three Prairie provinces, posting a 30 per cent drop in investment in new housing construction to $90.9 million in January from $129.7 million in the same period last year, the federal agency said Monday.
In dollar terms, Alberta took the biggest hit, plunging 19.3 per cent to $685.4 million from $849.5 million in January 2015. Manitoba saw a 14.7 per cent decrease to $78.5 million from $92.1 million in January last year.
Nationally, investment in new residential building construction increased 3.9 per cent year over year to $3.7 billion in January, driven by higher spending on apartment and apartment-condominium buildings (19.9 per cent) and row houses (7.6 per cent). However, investment in single-family dwellings fell 4.0 per cent from January 2015, and spending on semi-detached buildings decreased 16.4 per cent.
Spending in Ontario increased 23.4 per cent year over year to $1.5 billion in January, due to higher spending on single-family dwellings, apartment and apartment-condominium buildings, and row houses. Construction spending for semi-detached buildings posted a decline.
B.C. was the second-largest provincial contributor of investment in new housing construction in January, as spending rose 14.3 per cent to $695 million compared with the same month a year earlier. The increase was mainly driven by investment in apartment and apartment-condominium buildings. Investment in single-family dwellings and row houses also contributed to the advance, while spending on semi-detached buildings declined.
In Quebec, investment in new housing construction totalled $512 million in January, up 1.1 per cent compared with January 2015. This gain was the result of increased spending on apartment and apartment-condominium buildings, which more than offset lower investment in single-family buildings, semi-detached dwellings and row houses.