The Dodge Momentum Index erased the gains made over the last two months, falling 4.4 percent in July to 121.4 (2000=100). This marks the index’s first decline in four months, according to McGraw Hill Construction, a division of McGraw Hill Financial. The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year. While the Dodge Momentum Index stumbled in July, on a year-over-year basis it remains 16.5 percent higher than a year earlier, according to the report. McGraw Hill Construction suggests that the July decline therefore may simply be a return to a more sustainable pace following a spring bump.
July’s decline was the result of a 6.8-percent drop in commercial building plans, while the institutional sector fell a milder 0.6 percent. Despite the drop, six sizable commercial projects valued at $100 million or more entered planning in July. These include the $400 million 50 Hudson Yards Office Tower in New York City, the $350 million University Town Center (Phase II) in Sarasota, Fla., the $319 million Consolidated Rental Car Facility at Tampa, Fla.’s international airport, the $130 million Irvine Center Office Tower in Irvine, Calif., a $100-million hotel in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the $100 million Akard Place Office Tower in Dallas, according to the report.