August 2017 construction starts fall 2 percent

By |  September 21, 2017

New construction starts in August fell 2 percent from July at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $711.6 billion, reports Dodge Data & Analytics.

The August data produced a reading of 151 for the Dodge Index, compared with the 143 reported in July.

Nonresidential building in August was at $268.3 billion, which was a 14 percent gain from July.

According to Dodge Data & Analytics, the institutional building category as a group rose 27 percent, led by a 174 percent hike in the transportation terminal category. In addition, the amusement and recreational category rose 144 percent and the educational facilities category increased 39 percent.

Despite this, healthcare facilities dropped 41 percent, public buildings dropped 12 percent and religious buildings dropped 22 percent.

The commercial categories as a group increased 11 percent in August, with the office building category rising 38 percent and commercial garage construction climbing 6 percent. Warehouses fell 12 percent, stores fell 37 percent and the manufacturing plant category fell 41 percent in August.

Residential building in August dropped 1 percent to $293.4 billion, with multifamily housing falling 12 percent.

The top five metropolitan areas ranked by the dollar volume of multifamily starts were New York, Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco and Dallas/Fort Worth. In addition, single-family housing rose 4 percent.

Finally, nonbuilding construction fell 24 percent to $149.8 billion. The drop followed a 26 percent jump in July.

The electric utility/gas plant category fell 58 percent, and the public works categories as a group dropped 5 percent, with river/harbor development down 35 percent, miscellaneous public works down 39 percent and water supply construction down 56 percent.

Despite this, there was a 78 percent increase for sewer construction and a 23 percent increase in highway and bridge construction.

For the first eight months of 2017, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $481.7 billion, which is down 1 percent from the same time period in 2016.

According to Dodge Data & Analytics, the year-to-date performance for total construction was restrained by a 39 percent drop in the electric utility/gas plant category. More specifically, nonbuilding construction fell 12 percent year-to-date, nonresidential building rose 5 percent year-to-date and residential building rose 1 percent year-to-date.

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