Total Construction Starts Inch Higher in April

The Dodge Construction Network reports that total construction starts rose 3% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $945.8 billion. The same report shows nonresidential building starts rose 6% and residential starts increased by 4%, while nonbuilding starts fell 4%.

Year-to-date, total construction was 6% higher in the first four months of 2022 compared to the same period of 2021. Nonresidential building starts rose 19%, residential starts gained 3%, while nonbuilding starts were 2% lower. For the 12 months ending April 2022, total construction starts were 12% above the 12 months ending April 2021. Nonresidential starts were 24% higher, residential starts gained 11% and nonbuilding starts were down 1%.

“The construction sector is seemingly shrugging off the fear of higher interest rates and a potential recession,” said Richard Branch, chief economist for Dodge Construction Network. “Many building sectors have made the turn from weakness to recovery as underlying economic growth and hiring are solid. With the pipeline of projects in planning continuing to expand, this trend should continue in the months to come. However, the concern that the Federal Reserve will force the U.S. into recession later this year may thwart the momentum in construction starts. While recession is not our baseline forecast, it cannot be fully discounted.”

Specifics from the report include that nonresidential building starts rose 6% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $295.9 billion. In April, commercial starts rose 2%, institutional starts gained 8% and manufacturing starts increased 16%. Through the first four months of 2022, nonresidential building starts were 19% higher than during the first four months of 2021. Commercial starts advanced 11% and institutional starts 1%, while manufacturing starts soared 189% on a year-to-date basis.

For the 12 months ending April 2022, nonresidential building starts were 24% higher than in the 12 months ending April 2021. Commercial starts grew 19%, institutional starts rose 11%, and manufacturing starts swelled 163% on a 12-month rolling sum basis.

The largest nonresidential building projects to break ground in April were the $500 million Caesar Virginia hotel and casino in Danville, Va., the $430 million Aggie Square Life science building in Sacramento, Calif., and the $400 million Rose Gaming Resort in Dumfries, Va.

The largest multifamily structures to break ground in April were the $420 million 2-10 54th Avenue apartments in Long Island City, N.Y., the $400 million Civic Square condominiums in Seattle, Wash., and a $300 million mixed-use building in Long Island City, N.Y.

Regionally, total construction starts in April rose in the Northeast, South Atlantic, and South Central regions, but fell in the Midwest and West.

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