Escalation Watch First Quarter 2014
The mid-February 2014 Non-residential Construction Price Indices were released by Statistics Canada on May 13th. The second quarter indices for 2014 will be available mid-August 2014.
Nationally, the results for this quarter show significant improvement over the past two survey periods. The national composite index moved up more decisively this quarter from 152.5 to 153.3 or 0.5%. Expressed year over year, the national composite is up by 1.3%. Statistics Canada is reporting that this quarterly increase is attributable mainly to increases in material prices.
Across the country, all cities tracked by Statistics Canada showed improved growth results similar to the national composite. Perhaps most significantly, Ottawa reversed a year over year loss of -0.5% last quarter with a reported year over year increase of 0.2%, improving modestly from a 2013 fourth quarter result of 155.5 to the current 155.8. In Toronto, the largest construction market in the country the quarterly increase of 0.5% translated into a year over year growth rate of 0.7%. The western cities of Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver all continue to report year over year increases above the national composite rate of 1.6%, 2.1% and 3.0% respectively.
It bears remembering that the indices prepared for Statistics Canada are intended only to track cost changes in a given city. The index cannot be used to compare costs between cities.
The source data used to prepare the charts in this newsletter is drawn from Statistics Canada’s Capital Expenditures Price Statistics publication – catalogue 62-007-XWE. Specifically, we used the Non-residential Building Construction Price Indexes for the national composite and each surveyed city indicated on tables 7.2 through 7.9. Readers are cautioned that Statistics Canada does, on occasion, restate indices from previous quarters. Individual city and national composite indices reported in this newsletter reflect these changes. Indices restated from the previous report are highlighted for ease of reference where appropriate.
More information about this and other construction related indices published by Statistics Canada are available on line at www.statcan.gc.ca.
- Paul Westbrook