Construction starts tumble 9% in August

ConDig (20-Sept–21).  US construction starts dropped 9% month on month in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $782.8 billion, according to latest figures from Dodge Data & Analytics.

The fall comes as all three sectors lost ground during the month, including nonbuilding starts that were down 2%, residential starts were 9% lower and nonresidential building starts fell 13%.

Nonbuilding construction fell 2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $167.8 billion and was driven by highway and bridge starts falling 4% lower and utility/gas plants dropping 21% following a sizeable gain in July. 

For the year-to-date to August, total nonbuilding starts were up 1% through August. Environmental public works were up 23%, and utility/gas plant starts were up less than one percentage point through August. Starts in the highway/bridge (-2%) and miscellaneous nonbuilding sectors (-19%) were down through the first eight months of the year.

The largest nonbuilding projects to break ground in August were the $677 million Oak Hill Parkway roadway in Austin, TX, the $351 million southern expansion of the Kansas City Streetcar system in Kansas City, MO, and the $300 million first phase of the Dunns Bridge Solar Project in Wheatfield Township, IN.

Nonresidential building starts fell 13% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $244.9 billion. The declines were broad-based across building types with few bright spots, according to Dodge Data.

Commercial starts crumbled 10%, institutional starts booked a 15% loss, and manufacturing starts fell 37% following a sizable gain in July. Despite overall losses, there were gains in the retail, parking, and public buildings. 

For the year-to-date through eight months, nonresidential building starts were 3% higher. Commercial starts were up 2% and manufacturing starts were 33% higher. Institutional starts, however, were down 1% through the first eight months of this year.

The largest nonresidential building projects to break ground in August were the $800 million first phase of the Facebook Eastmark Parkway data center in Mesa, AZ, the $400 million Facebook data center in Springfield, NE, and the $350 million Pratt & Whitney Project Ranger manufacturing building in Asheville, NC.

Residential building starts logged a 9% loss in August to a seasonally adjusted rate of $370.2 billion. Single family starts tumbled 12% in August, while multifamily starts increased 1%. Through eight months, residential starts were 24% higher than in the same period one year ago. Single family starts gained 29%, while multifamily starts grew 13%.

The largest multifamily structures to break ground in August were the $615 million Flamingo Crossing Apartments in Winter Garden, FL, the $400 million 1018 West Peachtree apartments in Atlanta, GA, and the $374 million Victoria Place Gateway Tower in Honolulu, HI.

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