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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

November 22, 2019

Total residential and non-residential construction

Investment in Nova Scotia building construction declined 5.6 per cent in September (seasonally adjusted) compared to August 2019.  Halifax monthly building construction was down 9.8 per cent in September.

Nationally, investment in building construction rose 1.0 per cent in September.  Newfoundland and Labrador reported the strongest monthly gain while Nova Scotia reported the largest monthly decline. 

In the first nine months of 2019, building construction investment was up 14.0 per cent in Nova Scotia.  Halifax construction activity was up 10.9 per cent.  National building construction investment was up 1.7 per cent with four provinces reporting growth over January-September 2018. The fastest growth was reported in Prince Edward Island (+42.4 per cent) followed by Nova Scotia and British Columbia (+12.0 per cent).  The largest declines over this period were reported in Newfoundland and Labrador (-15.4 per cent) and Alberta (-13.5 per cent).

Total Nova Scotia building construction investment was $305.8 million in September.  In recent years, Halifax has accounted for a rising share of construction activity in the province, particularly for residential investment.  Halifax building construction totaled $176.1 million in September, while there was $129.7 million in building construction outside of Halifax.

Residential construction

In September 2019, residential construction investment (seasonally adjusted change from August) in Nova Scotia declined 6.6 per cent to $250.9 million.  Halifax residential construction fell 10.8 per cent to $149.9 million. 

National residential construction was up 1.2 per cent month-to-month as four provinces reported higher residential construction investment in September.  The fastest gain was in Newfoundland and Labrador, while the largest decline was in Nova Scotia.

Year-to-date, residential construction investment was up 17.9 per cent in Nova Scotia.  Halifax's residential construction was up 17.8 per cent compared to January-September 2018. 

National residential construction was virtually unchanged per cent compared to the first nine months of 2018.  Five provinces reported growth for the period, with Prince Edward Island (+46.5 per cent) and Nova Scotia reporting the fastest growth. Newfoundland and Labrador reported the largest decline over the same period in 2018 (-33.3 per cent).

Investment in renovations outside of Halifax and new construction for multiples in Halifax account for most of the rise in residential construction activity (unadjusted) in the first nine months of 2019 in Nova Scotia. New construction is up 3.0 per cent year-to-date for single dwelling units. Other residential construction activity (such as conversions) is up in percentage terms, but has contributed less than other residential activities to the overall rise in residential building expenditures so far this year.

Non-residential construction

In September, non-residential building construction declined 0.8 per cent to $54.8 million in Nova Scotia (seasonally adjusted change from August).  In Halifax, non-residential construction was down 3.7 per cent to $26.2 million.

National non-residential building construction rose 0.4 per cent in September.  Five provinces reported monthly gains, with the fastest growth reported in Quebec and Ontario.  Newfoundland and Labrador reported the largest monthly decline.

Year-to-date, Nova Scotia's non-residential construction is down 1.3 per cent compared to the first nine months of 2018.  Halifax's non-residential construction is down 16.3 per cent year-to-date. 

National non-residential construction investment rose 5.6 per cent in the first nine months of the year. The fastest growth was reported in British Columbia (+32.7 per cent), Prince Edward Island (+29.0 per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (+27.9 per cent).  The fastest declines were reported in Ontario (-5.6 per cent).

In Nova Scotia, year-to-date non-residential building construction declines are concentrated in both commercial and institutional/government projects in Halifax.  Non-residential construction is up outside of Halifax on gains in commercial and institutional/government expenditures.

Source: Statistics Canada.  Table  34-10-0175-01   Investment in Building Construction

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