New office buildings in Alberta and Ontario drove a continuing increase in investment in non-residential building construction through the first three months of 2008.
Statistics Canada reports first-quarter investment hit $10.3 billion across the country, up 1.6 per cent from the fourth quarter and the 20th straight quarterly increase.
In constant dollars, investment in non-residential building construction declined 0.3 per cent from the fourth quarter.
Investment increased in all three components from the fourth quarter. It rose 1.6 per cent to $6.3 billion in the commercial component; four per cent to $1.5 billion in the industrial component, and 0.2 per cent to $2.6 billion in the institutional component. Provincially, the biggest first-quarter dollar increase occurred in Alberta, where investment rose 5.1 per cent to $2.5 billion, a 19th straight quarterly gain.
In Ontario, investment rose 3.1 per cent to $3.8 billion, as a result of gains in all three components. British Columbia posted the biggest drop as a result of a decline in spending on construction of industrial and institutional projects.