OTTAWA—Despite the slowdown during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, challenging lumber and product material prices and shortages, the residential construction industry was a key driver in Canada’s economy last year, indicates a Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) report.
Residential Construction in Canada – Economic Performance Review 2020 with 2021 Insights, features an overview of the 2020-21 residential construction market, including both new construction and renovation, analysis on lumber and other supply chain issues, the labour force, national trends and provincial analysis.
According to the report, there was a large spike in renovation months into the pandemic, increased demand for single-family houses and townhomes and a link between lack of housing supply and rising prices.
The report also found:
• There was a total of 1.24 million onsite and off-site jobs in the sector in 2020, with 58 per cent of those jobs concentrated in renovation and repair, and 42 per cent in new home construction;
• while the number of jobs was down slightly in 2020 due to the pandemic, the sector managed to increase the number of housing starts by year end in 2020 compared to 2019; and
• the industry provided for $138.1 billion in economic activity and $81.1 billion in wages that support Canadians and local economies across the country.
“The residential construction sector has been doing all it can to respond to the housing needs of Canadians through these challenging times and is providing much needed economic recovery growth through jobs, wages and investment in every community,” said CHBA CEO Kevin Lee in a statement.
“The ability to bring on more housing supply in most urban centres is crucial for improving housing affordability. We encourage concentrated efforts by all levels of government to facilitate more supply of all housing types quickly. This can help calm house prices while also meeting the needs of Canadians and a recovering economy.”
Lee added, “As the jobs, wages, and investment generated by the residential construction sector continue to be significant in our local, provincial, and national economies, it is also worth noting we are facing a skilled worker shortage now and moving forward. With some 20 per cent of our labour force retiring in the coming decade, it’s a great time for young people to consider a rewarding career in this sector.”
More information on the report can be found at https://www.chba.ca/impacts.