Construction Starts Rose 2% in March
Hamilton, NJ, May 4, 2021-Total construction starts rose 2% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $825.3 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics.
A solid gain in nonresidential building starts fueled the March gain, while growth in residential starts was minuscule and nonbuilding starts fell outright. The Dodge Index rose 2% in March, to 175 from February’s 172.
Below is the full breakdown across nonbuilding, nonresidential, and residential construction:
Nonbuilding construction starts fell 7% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $186.7 billion, following a sizeable gain in February. Miscellaneous nonbuilding sector (-43%) and environmental public works (-11%) led the decline, whereas the utility gas plant and highway and bridge categories rose 39% and 2% respectively.
For the 12 months ending March 2021, total nonbuilding starts were 10% lower than the 12 months ending March 2020. Highway and bridge starts were 3% higher on a 12-month rolling sum basis, while environmental public works were up 8%. Miscellaneous nonbuilding fell 19% and utility/gas plant starts were down 36% for the 12 months ending March 2021.
The largest nonbuilding projects to break ground in March were the $1.2 billion (1.1 GW) Sanborn Solar Facility in Mojave, California; the $525 million Azure Sky (350 MW) wind farm in Throckmorton, Texas; and the $425 million Double E Pipeline, a 135-mile pipeline between Eddy County, New Mexico and Waha, Texas.
Nonresidential building starts rose 13% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $235.3 billion. Institutional building starts rose 15% during the month fueled by gains in education, recreation, and public buildings. Commercial building starts increased 11% thanks to healthy gains across all commercial sectors. Manufacturing starts, meanwhile, lost 52% in March after strong levels during the previous two months.
For the 12 months ending March 2021, nonresidential building starts dropped 28% compared to the 12 months ending March 2020. Commercial starts declined 30%, institutional starts were down 20%, and manufacturing starts slid 56% in the 12 months ending March 2021.
The largest nonresidential building projects to break ground in March were a $306 million Amazon, Inc. warehouse in Maspeth, New York; the $300 million Ball Corp. Aluminum Can factory in Pittson, Pennsylvania; and the $288 million TCCD Northwest Campus Redevelopment in Arlington, Texas.
Residential building starts increased by less than one percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $403.3 billion. Multifamily starts rose by a brisk 33%, while single family starts slipped 9% lower.
For the 12 months ending March 2021, total residential starts were 6% higher than the 12 months ending March 2020. Single family starts gained 14%, while multifamily starts were down 14% on a 12-month sum basis.
The largest multifamily structures to break ground in March were the $329 million 1629 Market Street mixed-use project in San Francisco, California; the $287 million Schuylkill Yards West Tower in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and the $242 million National Urban League mixed-use building in New York, New York.
Regionally, March’s starts rose in the West, South Central, and Northeast regions, but fell in the Midwest and South Atlantic regions.