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Dodge: Construction starts up 3 percent in April

By |  May 17, 2022
The National Association of Home Builders expects residential construction to expand this year, despite significant headwinds. Photo: Michael Warren / IStock / Getty Images/Getty Images Plus

Total construction starts were up 3 percent in April, with nonresidential building starts growing 6 percent, residential starts increased 4 percent and nonbuilding starts dropped 4 percent, according to Dodge Construction Network. Photo: Michael Warren / IStock / Getty Images/Getty Images Plus

Total construction starts rose 3 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $945.8 billion, according to Dodge Construction Network.

Nonresidential building starts rose 6 percent and residential starts increased by 4 percent, while nonbuilding starts fell 4 percent.

Total construction was 6 percent higher in the first four months of 2022 versus the same period a year earlier. Nonresidential building starts rose 19 percent in that time, residential starts gained 3 percent and nonbuilding starts were 2 percent lower.

For the 12 months ending in April 2022, total construction starts were 12 percent above the 12 months ending in April 2021. Nonresidential starts were 24 percent higher, residential starts gained 11 percent and nonbuilding starts were down 1 percent.

“The construction sector is seemingly shrugging off the fear of higher interest rates and a potential recession,” says Richard Branch, chief economist at Dodge Construction Network. “Many building sectors have made the turn from weakness to recovery as underlying economic growth and hiring are solid. With the pipeline of projects in planning continuing to expand, this trend should continue in the months to come.

“However, the concern that the Federal Reserve will force the U.S. into recession later this year may thwart the momentum in construction starts,” he adds. “While recession is not our baseline forecast, it cannot be fully discounted.”

Nonbuilding construction

Nonbuilding construction starts fell 4 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $187.1 billion.

Starts in the environmental public works category rose 8 percent, while utility and gas plant starts moved 10 percent higher. Starts for highway and bridge projects fell 14 percent and miscellaneous nonbuilding starts dropped 2 percent during the month.

Through the first four months of the year, total nonbuilding starts were 2 percent lower than in 2021. Highway and bridge starts gained 28 percent through four months and environmental public works projects were 2 percent higher. At the same time, miscellaneous nonbuilding and utility and gas plant starts dropped 37 percent and 39 percent, respectively, through four months.

For the 12 months ending in April 2022, total nonbuilding starts were 1 percent lower than in the 12 months ending in April 2021. Environmental public works starts were up 10 percent while street and bridge starts gained 6 percent. Miscellaneous nonbuilding starts were 33 percent lower while utility and gas plant starts were down 3 percent.

The largest nonbuilding projects to break ground in April were the $531 million Gross Reservoir Expansion in Golden, Colorado, the $450 million Seven Cowboy wind project in Washita and Kiowa counties, Oklahoma, and the $338 million Great Pathfinder wind farm in Boone and Hamilton counties, Iowa.

Nonresidential building

Nonresidential building starts rose 6 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $295.9 billion.

In April, commercial starts rose 2 percent, institutional starts gained 8 percent and manufacturing starts increased 16 percent. Through the first four months of 2022, nonresidential building starts were 19 percent higher than during the first four months of 2021. Commercial starts advanced 11 percent and institutional starts were up 1 percent, while manufacturing starts soared 189 percent on a year-to-date basis.

For the 12 months ending in April 2022, nonresidential building starts were 24 percent higher than during the 12 months ending in April 2021. Commercial starts grew 19 percent, institutional starts rose 11 percent, and manufacturing starts swelled 163 percent on a 12-month rolling sum basis.

The largest nonresidential building projects to break ground in April were the $500 million Caesar Virginia hotel and casino in Danville, Virginia, the $430 million Aggie Square Life science building in Sacramento, California, and the $400 million The Rose Gaming Resort in Dumfries, Virginia.

Residential building

Residential building starts rose 4 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $462.9 billion.

Single-family starts gained 1 percent and multifamily starts rose 13 percent. Through the first four months of 2022, residential starts were 3 percent higher than in the same period last year. Multifamily starts were up 16 percent, while single-family housing slipped 2 percent.

For the 12 months ending in April 2022, residential starts improved 11 percent over 2021. Single-family starts were 6 percent higher and multifamily starts were 27 percent stronger on a 12-month rolling sum basis.

The largest multifamily structures to break ground in April were the $420 million 2-10 54th Avenue apartments in Long Island City, New York, the $400 million Civic Square condominiums in Seattle, and a $300 million mixed-use building in Long Island City, New York.

Regionally, total construction starts in April rose in the Northeast, South Atlantic and South Central regions, but fell in the Midwest and West.

Jack Kopanski

About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor of Pit & Quarry and Editor-in-Chief of Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or jkopanski@northcoastmedia.net.

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