March 3, 2008 / 8:38 PM / in 9 years

Canada home building investments up 8.5 pct in '07

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian residential construction investment climbed 8.5 percent in 2007, buoyed by rising house prices, Statistics Canada said on Monday.

The total value of residential construction investment for 2007 was C$88.7 billion.

In constant dollars, the increase in overall residential construction investments was 2.3 percent.

Among provinces, the biggest increases in terms of dollars were in Alberta, up 18.9 percent to C$14.8 billion, and in Quebec, up 8.0 percent to C$19.1 billion. In percentage terms, Saskatchewan saw the biggest increase - 37.5 percent.

Spending on new residential construction grew 8.5 percent from the previous year to C$44.2 billion.

Single family home investment led the charge, rising 7.2 percent to C$27.4 billion, while apartment and condo construction climbed 9.7 percent to C$10.3 billion.

"The favorable job situation, growth in disposable income, attractive financing options and strength of the economy in Western Canada continued to support the demand for housing," said Statistics Canada in a statement.

Renovation spending for the year jumped 9.5 percent to C$36.8 billion, representing 41.5 percent of total residential construction investments.

Acquisition costs rose 4.1 percent to C$7.7 billion.

FOURTH-QUARTER INVESTMENT

For the fourth quarter, residential construction investment grew 10.6 percent to C$23.1 billion compared with the same quarter of 2006, driven by new housing, renovations and acquisition costs, Statscan said.

Quarterly spending on new housing construction was up 12.4 percent from a year earlier, at C$11.9 billion.

Statscan said the increase stemmed mainly from investments in new single-family housing construction, which increased 10.5 percent to C$7.3 billion.

Apartment construction grew 14 percent to C$2.9 billion.

In constant dollars, spending on new single-family housing and apartment or condominium construction climbed 4.2 percent and 4.4 percent respectively from a year earlier.

Renovation spending in the quarter grew 8.3 percent to C$9.2 billion.

Acquisition costs rose 10.3 percent to C$2.0 billion.

Gains were achieved in all provinces and territories in the quarter except Quebec and the Yukon.

($1=$0.99 Canadian)

Reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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