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

October 20, 2023

Monthly (August 2023 vs July 2023, seasonally adjusted)

Investment in Nova Scotia building construction edged up 0.1% in August 2023 to $467.5 million. Halifax monthly building construction increased 7.8% to $231.5 million and outside of Halifax building construction was down 6.5% to $236.0 million. Nationally, investment in building construction increased 1.1% with gains in 7 of 10 provinces.  The largest increase was in Newfoundland and Labrador and the largest decline in Manitoba.

Nova Scotia's August 2023 residential construction investment decreased 0.4% to $386.3 million. Halifax residential construction was up 8.6% to $178.2 million. Outside of Halifax residential construction was down 7.0% to $208.1 million. National residential construction was up 1.6% with increases in six provinces. Newfoundland and Labrador had the largest increase while Manitoba had the largest decline.

Nova Scotia's non-residential building construction increased 2.3% to $81.2 million - the largest monthly increase among provinces. In Halifax, non-residential construction was up 5.2% to $53.3 million. Outside of Halifax, non-residential construction was down 3.0% to $27.9 million. National non-residential building construction was up 0.1% in August 2023 with gains in six provinces. The largest decrease was reported in Prince Edward Island.  

Year-to-date (January-August 2023 vs January-August 2022)

Compared to January-August 2022, building construction investment was down 0.6% in Nova Scotia. Halifax construction activity was down 12.1% and outside of Halifax construction activity was up 12.9%. National building construction investment was down 7.9% with declines in all provinces, led by Newfoundland and Labrador. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick had the smallest declines. 

Residential construction investment was down 1.8% in Nova Scotia compared to January-August 2022. Halifax's year-to-date residential construction was down 17.7% and outside of Halifax, residential construction was up 16.3% year-to-date. National residential construction was down 14.1% with declines in all provinces. The largest decrease was in Newfoundland and Labrador. Nova Scotia reported the smallest decline.

Nova Scotia's non-residential construction was up 6.8% compared to January-August 2022. Halifax's non-residential construction rose 18.8% while outside of Halifax, non-residential construction was down 9.8%. National non-residential construction investment increased 9.4% compared to January-August 2022. Eight provinces reported increases, with the largest increase in New Brunswick. The only declines were reported in Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island. 

Nova Scotia's total building construction investment decreased slightly from $3.78 billion in January-August 2022 to $3.76 billion in January-August 2023. Decreases in residential investment in Halifax and non-residential investment in outside of Halifax were offset by rising residential investment outside Halifax and non-residential investment inside Halifax. 

Halifax reported declining residential investment year-to-date in both single dwelling units and multiple dwelling unit structures.  Outside the city, construction investment in single dwelling units was up, more than offsetting the decline in multiple dwelling unit structures.

Non-residential building construction investment was up primarily because of increases in commercial structures (both inside and outside Halifax).  Industrial building construction investment was down for all areas of the province.  Investment in institutional and government structures was up in Halifax, offsetting the declines outside the city.  


Building construction has trended up over recent years, particularly from rising residential investment. Residential investment (and therefore total investment) exhibits peaks and troughs around a rising trend.  Non-residential investment has been on a more gradual increasing trend, primarily from investments in Halifax.

In Halifax, residential construction investment was trending up for both single and multi-unit dwellings until mid 2022 when both started to decline.  However, in recent months single dwelling construction in Halifax started to rise again. Outside the city, growth in single dwelling unit construction is stronger than in multi-unit structures.  The recent reversal of the downward trend in residential construction for the province is largely attributable to single-dwelling unit projects outside the city. 

Non-residential building construction has lower values than residential construction. Halifax commercial building construction has been on increasing trend since the end of 2021, however industrial construction which had been increasing has declined in recent months. Outside the city, non-residential construction trended down in 2022 for all three categories of non-residential building: commercial, industrial, and government/institutional.  In recent months, there has been some growth in commercial building construction outside the city.

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

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