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StatsCan reports investment in non-res construction Q4 2009


January 21, 2010
By Anthony Capkun

Investment in non-residential construction totalled $10.2 billion in current dollars in the fourth quarter, down 2.5% from Q3 and down 7.2% from Q4 of 2008. This decrease was largely driven by a continuing downward trend of spending on commercial building construction and, to a lesser extent, by a similar declining trend in industrial building construction.

Investors spent $5.7 billion on commercial projects, down 5% from Q3
and 15.8% below Q4 2008. Investment in industrial projects fell 6.8%
from the previous quarter to $1 billion in Q4 and was 23.2% below Q4
2008. This is consistent with the decline in the value of building
permits recorded during the economic downturn.

In contrast, spending in institutional projects continued to increase,
rising 3.3% from the third quarter to $3.5 billion in Q4, and up 20.2%
from Q4 2008.

Overall, seven provinces posted decreases in the fourth quarter;
Alberta and Ontario reported the largest declines, mainly due to lower
spending on commercial construction.

Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the three territories posted
gains in the fourth quarter, which were largely attributable to higher
spending on institutional building construction.

Investment fell in 20 of the 34 census metropolitan areas. The largest
declines occurred in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, mainly because of
a decrease in commercial construction projects.

Kelowna and Windsor posted the largest quarterly increase, mainly as a result of higher spending in the institutional component.

Investment in the construction of commercial buildings declined for the
fourth consecutive quarter. The main factor was lower spending on the
construction of office buildings, and retail and wholesale outlets in
Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia.

Overall, eight provinces recorded decreases in commercial investment.
The most significant declines occurred in Alberta (-10.8% to $1.3
billion), Ontario (-3.8% to $2.1 billion) and British Columbia (-6.1%
to $739 million).

In contrast, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, The Yukon and Nunavut showed higher spending in several commercial building categories.

Investment in the construction of industrial buildings declined as a
result of lower spending in the construction of manufacturing plants in
seven provinces, and in the construction of utilities and maintenance
buildings in five provinces.

Provincially, the largest contributions to the quarterly decrease
occurred in Alberta, where investment fell 18.7% to $174 million, and
in British Columbia, where it was down 16.9% to $71 million.

In contrast, The Yukon and Nunavut posted increases resulting largely from higher spending in mining and maintenance buildings.

Spending in the institutional component advanced for an eighth
consecutive quarter, mainly as a result of higher investment in
educational and health care buildings.

Increases in the fourth quarter were recorded in six provinces and the
three territories. Alberta recorded the largest gain, due to higher
investment in all institutional building categories. Alberta was
followed by British Columbia, where there was significant spending on
health care buildings.

After two consecutive quarters of increases, Quebec posted the largest
decline in the institutional component. This was mainly the result of
lower spending on educational and healthcare buildings.