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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

William Steele Senior Economist
Tel: 902-424-6131Email:

February 21, 2018

Investment in new housing construction in Nova Scotia (current dollars, unadjusted for seasonality) decreased 9.2 per cent in December 2017 compared to December 2016 to $60.9 million. Investment in new single-detached units decreased by 19.4 per cent to $33.5 million, while investment in apartment units increased by 18.7 per cent to $22.7 million. The relatively smaller semi-detached segment was down 37.1 per cent to $3.1 million with row housing construction rising 12.1 per cent to $1.5 million.  In Canada, new housing investment increased by 10.0 per cent over the same period to $4.7 billion.  

The composition of Nova Scotia's housing construction has been changing over the last decade, beginning with a rise in apartment construction in 2009.  The pace of single dwelling construction slowed in 2013 as apartments reached a peak.  Total construction was down in both categories for 2014, followed by a rebound in apartment construction in 2015.  In 2016 and 2017, single dwelling construction has rebounded, though not to the same pace as was observed over a decade ago.  After declining in late 2016, apartment construction rose again through 2017.

The trend in Nova Scotia's housing construction (measured using an index of investment in all dwellings) shows both the strong seasonal pattern as well as the difference from national levels.  While national new housing construction grew rapidly from 2013 onwards (particularly in larger urban centres), Nova Scotia's housing markets have grown more slowly as there was a shift in composition between apartment and single dwelling unit construction.

On an annual basis, Nova Scotia's total new housing construction is up 16.4 per cent, or $117.7 million, compared to 2016.  Growth is mainly attributable to a $84.6 million increase in apartment spending and a $32.7 million increase in spending on single dwelling units.  Semi-detached unit spending was up $3.8 million while row housing expenditures fell $3.4 million. 

Across Canada, annual investment in new housing construction is up 8.9 per cent or $4.7 billion compared to December 2016, with the gains mostly concentrated in single dwelling units which increased by $2.7 billion.

Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan both reported declines in investment in December 2017 compared to December 2016.  The other eight provinces reported increases, led by Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Quebec. 

On an annual basis, eight provinces saw an increase in investment in 2017 compared to 2016, led by Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Newfoundland and Labrador has reported lower annual new housing construction totals, along with Saskatchewan to a lesser extent.

Statistics Canada CANSIM 026-0017

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