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The real gross domestic product (GDP) of Canada’s key housing industries reported steady and consecutive monthly growth during February according to new data released by Statistics Canada.
Overall, 16 out of 20 Canadian industrial sectors expanded in February, helping the national GDP to increase 1.1 per cent that month, the largest monthly growth rate since March 2021 and the ninth straight month of expansion in economic output.
“Client-facing industries led the growth on continued reopening of activities and easing of restrictions put in place at the onset of Omicron variant,” explained Statistics Canada’s report. “Increases were also recorded in the manufacturing and construction sectors.”
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The GDP of Canada’s construction sector grew 2.7 per cent month-over-month in February as “all sub sectors contributed to the growth.”
Home alterations and improvements, in addition to the construction of apartment buildings, pushed the GDP of residential building construction up 3.7 per cent, the second month of growth in a row. Non-residential building construction grew at about half the rate of residential activity, rising 1.4 per cent in February. This marks the eighth straight month of increases thanks to alterations and improvement activity, which contributed to the monthly gain.
“Industrial building construction also increased, fuelled by several new manufacturing and maintenance building projects in Ontario and Quebec,” noted the report.
The construction industry reported a GDP of $156.39 billion in chained dollars during February, up from $152.26 billion in January and $148.16 in December 2021.
Canada’s real estate, rental and leasing sector reported a much smaller percentage of monthly GDP growth compared to the construction industry, but still increased 0.4 per cent in February as all sub sectors grew. Most of the real estate growth was attributed to offices of real estate agents and brokers — up 2.5 per cent monthly — as home resale activity increased during the month. This was most prominent in Ontario and the Prairie provinces.
In February, national home sales recorded over the MLS systems increased 4.6 per cent between January and February as sales grew in 60 per cent of local markets, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
The GDP of Canada’s legal services, which extract much of their activity from real estate transactions, increased 1.2 per cent monthly in February.
For the ninth month in a row, the GDP of Canada’s finance and insurance services increased 0.4 per cent month-over-month in February, a surge that was initiated by homebuyers hurrying to lock in mortgage rates ahead of increases.
“As markets and investors were preparing for rate hikes signalled by central bankers, many homebuyers rushed to lock in lower mortgage rates from their lenders, leading to a 0.5 per cent increase in depository credit intermediation and other monetary authorities,” explained the report.
Insurance carriers and related activities reported 0.5 per cent in growth during February while financial investment services, funds and other financial vehicles dropped 0.2 per cent. Yet, activity stayed high despite global geopolitical instability toward the end of February according to Statistics Canada.