The nonresidential building market, thanks to particular segments that use lots of glass, will continue in a positive direction through 2017, according to a leading expert in construction economics.

This week, Dodge Data & Analytics chief economist and vice president Robert Murray gave a webinar presentation on the state of the construction industry at the midpoint of 2017.

Charts: Robert Murray

The office sector, which remains a main driver in commercial construction, is leveling off mildly after a major surge in 2016—though it is still projected to grow 9 percent in square footage and 11 percent in dollar value this year.

“The office building market is seeing continued activity for data centers,” he said. “And while government buildings have been settling back, private corporate buildings are really pushing this market upward.” He added that numerous corporate headquarters projects have started recently, and other are nearing groundbreaking.

A main driver of office construction is vacancy rates, which remain at healthy levels. According to CB Richard Ellis, in the second quarter of 2017, the downtown office vacancy rate stood at 10.7 percent, with the suburban office vacancy rate at 14.3 percent.

Murray said that the institutional building side of the nonresidential market “really comes to play a more important role as the nonresidential expansion proceeds.” He added, “We had a very strong first quarter of 2017, though the second quarter pulled back a bit.”

Construction of educational facilities has recovered more slowly than other building types and has been trending along with college endowment investments, which have been down. However, Murray said this should turn around in fiscal 2017.

Overall educational construction edged up in 2016 and continues to do so in 2017, with much of the recent upturn coming from K-12 projects.

Another key segment of late in institutional building has been the transportation terminal category.

“There’s been a substantial pickup in the amount of airport terminal projects this year,” said Murray. “This will be a big reason why the institutional category will play a big role in keeping the nonresidential expansion on track.”

In 2017, transportation terminal construction is projected to increase by 125 percent and 135 percent in square footage and dollar value, respectively. This follows 40- and 56-percent spikes by those measures in 2016.

One category that is beginning to pull back is multifamily. Murray said much of this is related to multifamily construction in New York City slowing down after reaching a peak in 2015.