Nonresidential building plans rebound in December

By |  January 11, 2013

The Dodge Momentum Index, the monthly measure of the initial report for nonresidential building projects in planning, rose 3.2 percent in December, according to McGraw-Hill Construction.

The December gain lifted the index to 94.9, up from November’s revised 91.9. After showing a hesitant upward trend during the first seven months of 2012, the index settled back from August through October before stabilizing in November.

The December rebound brings the index back toward the 95.4 it reached in July. The 95.4 mark was the highest reading reported throughout 2012.

According to McGraw-Hill Construction, December’s upturn may be the first sign that the uncertainty restraining construction plans is now easing. The November election having passed and the fiscal cliff being averted for the time being are two events that may have helped the upturn.

Also, the increase in December was due to a pickup in commercial building. That segment jumped 9 percent relative to November. New plans for stores and office buildings were stronger in December, and several notable warehouse developments also bolstered the index, including plans for two new Amazon distribution facilities in Dupont, Wash., and Fort Worth Texas.

Meanwhile, the institutional building segment dropped 2.4 percent in December. McGraw-Hill Construction says the segment was weighed down by a reduction in the number of new hospitals entering the planning phase.

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