Five-year outlook for Canada’s construction industry looks brighter

Report from Timetric points to infrastructure improvements, renewable energy, commercial projects and government programs as factors.

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May 5, 2016
CDR Staff
Construction Forecasts & Statistics
The construction industry in Canada is forecast to improve over the next five years to reach US$321 billion by 2020, despite contracting by 1.7 percent in 2015, according to a report by Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center (CIC), London.

Canada’s construction industry recorded a weak performance, with its output value dropping from US$294.1 billion in 2014 to US$289 billion in 2015. Factors such as fragile economic conditions, low commodity prices, poor fixed-capital investments and a high rate of unemployment contributed to the country’s weak performance.

However, the industry’s future is getting brighter as its value is forecast to pick up in 2016 with investment in public and renewable energy infrastructure, commercial projects, and improvements in consumer and investor confidence. Several government programs, such as the Affordable Housing Initiative (AHI), New Building Canada Plan (NBCP) and Made in Canada, also will continue to support the industry’s growth over the forecast period (2016–2020), according to the CIC report.

The industry’s output value is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.13 percent in real terms over the forecast period, down from 2.29 percent during the review period (2011–2015). Timetric says it expects the industry to increase from US$289 billion in 2015 to US$321.1 billion in 2020, measured at constant 2010 U.S. dollar exchange rates.

“Growing population and urbanization, and improvements in domestic manufacturing activities will likely be the main drivers behind the industry growth up until 2020,” says Danny Richards, lead economist at Timetric’s CIC. “In addition, the government’s efforts to enhance the residential and public infrastructure will also contribute to the growth. For example, to provide affordable housing to the lower- and middle-class population, the Canadian government is planning to spend US$6 billion in social infrastructure by 2020, which includes expenditure on renovation and new housing buildings construction.”

Residential construction is expected to take on more importance in the industry over the next five years, to account for 38.4 percent of the industry’s total value in 2020, according to the CIC report. The market will be supported by a rising population, urbanization and improving economic conditions. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the country’s population is expected to reach 37.6 million in 2020 and 40.4 million in 2030. Government efforts to provide affordable houses to the lower- and middle-class population through AHI also will encourage growth in the market.

Timetric is a provider of online data, analysis and advisory services on key financial and industry sectors. It provides integrated information services covering risk assessments, forecasts, industry analysis, market intelligence, news and commentary. More information is available at www.timetric.com.