British Columbia helped moderate a decline in building construction.
B.C. builders increased their investment by $81 million in November 2018, as the building construction market softened across Canada, according to Statistics Canada. Both the residential (-2.2 per cent to $9.4 billion) and non-residential (-1.6 per cent to $4.3 billion) sectors declined as total investments decreased two per cent from October to $13.7 billion.
Alberta, Ontario and Quebec recorded the largest declines with respective drops of $152, $72 and $56 million.
Looking at specific categories, residential construction dropped more significantly than non-residential construction, with investments in both single-unit and multi-unit buildings declining in November 2018.
Year-to-year, single residential construction dropped just over 20 per cent. The residential construction data mirrors the larger national picture. With the exception of British Columbia and some of the smaller jurisdictions, six provinces including Ontario, Quebec and Alberta saw fewer residential construction.
This broad decline has unfolded against policy measures designed to curb speculation and limit entry into the housing market. The global economic picture has also darkened.
The good times might also be ending in British Columbia, whose real estate market is heading towards a more balanced market thanks to reduced purchasing power and slowing population growth.
Pointing to the Crystal Ball Housing Forecast, Casey Edge, executive director of Victoria Residential Builders Association, warned of a changing climate for builders.
“With peak land costs, declining sales, challenging and costly permit processes, and rising [government] fees, we are in a very risky environment for [speculative] home building,” he said.