Construction Starts Rise in September

New York, NY, Oct. 21, 2013 -- New construction starts in September advanced 13% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $556.0 billion, according to McGraw Hill Construction.

Nonresidential building bounced back after losing momentum in August.

For the first nine months of 2013, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were reported at $379.3 billion, up 2% from the same period a year ago.

If electric utilities are excluded from the year-to-date statistics, total construction starts in the first nine months of 2013 would be up 11%.

"The overall level of construction activity will be affected by the presence of large projects in any one given month, and that was certainly the case in September,” said Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw Hill Construction.

“While the extent of September’s gain overstates the current health of construction, the latest month did provide positive news for nonresidential building which continued the up-and-down pattern that’s occurred during 2013.  The September gain for nonresidential building reflected the manufacturing plant category posting a strong increase, commercial building staying close to its recently improved pace, and several institutional structure types rising from previously weak levels.  After the downward trend that’s been underway from 2009 through the first half of 2013, the institutional building sector may now be starting to stabilize, which is necessary for total nonresidential building to register growth.  At the same time, the recent Congressional impasse over federal appropriations for fiscal 2014 and raising the debt ceiling only adds to the sense of uncertainty, which hampers renewed expansion for nonresidential building going forward.”

Nonresidential building in September jumped 24% to $182.8 billion (annual rate).

Hotel construction in September increased 9%, while office construction edged up 1%.

Store construction in September held steady with its August amount.  The commercial building total in September was pulled down by a 34% drop for warehouse construction.

Institutional building in September advanced 24%, rebounding after a 17% decline in August.

The healthcare facilities category jumped 144%. 

Residential building in September dropped 6% to $203.2 billion (annual rate).  Multifamily housing fell 14%, pulling back after rising by the same percentage during August.


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