Building construction in Alberta in 2021
Inflation-adjusted spending last year was 9.9% lower than in 2020 and 18.7% lower than in 2019
By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 11 February 2022 1 min read
At $22.3 billion, the amount of money spent on the construction of buildings in Alberta last year was higher than in 2020 and close to the 2019 level.
If, however, price inflation is taken into account,* spending last year was 9.9% lower than in 2020, 18.7% lower than in 2019 and 42.8% below the high water mark set in 2014.
Compared to 2019 before the pandemic, inflation-adjusted spending in 2021 was down in the residential sector by 13.8% and by 26.0% in the non-residential sector.
The only categories that posted increases over this period were government buildings (up 121.8% or $113.3 million) and recreation buildings (up 22.1% or $59.4 million).
Nationally, investment in building construction managed to rise by 2.0% in constant dollar terms in 2021 compared to 2019. Spending was higher in six provinces with Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia all losing ground.
On the bright side, we should see some uptick in construction activity in Alberta this year. With that said, there is still quite a bit of catching up to do to get back to pre-pandemic levels and we are a long way from the spending that took place during the last boom.
*Estimates for constant dollars are calculated using quarterly deflators from the Building Construction Price Index (18-10-0135-01).
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