The Dodge Momentum Index (DMI) jumped by 6.1% in April, bolstered by a 12.6% increase in commercial planning. The monthly report by Dodge Construction Network (DCN) indicates the DMI increased to 173.9 in April from the revised March reading of 164.0.

The DMI is a monthly measure of the value of nonresidential building projects going into planning. It has been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.

“The DMI saw positive progress in April, alongside a deluge of data center projects that entered the planning stage,” says DCN associate director of forecasting Sarah Martin. “Outsized demand to build cloud and artificial intelligence infrastructure supports above-average activity in the sector. Most other categories, however, faced slower growth over the month.”

She explains the slower growth came as owners and developers grappled with uncertainty around interest rates and lending standards. However, if interest rates drop in the latter half of 2024, more substantive growth in nonresidential planning activity should follow.

According to DMI data, several data center projects entered planning in April. On the institutional side, education and healthcare planning activity receded again—partly driven by weak life science and research and development activity. The DMI was 1% lower than in April 2023. The commercial segment was up 6% from 2023, while the institutional segment was down 15% over the same period.

In April 2024, 25 projects valued at $100 million or more entered planning. The largest commercial projects included the $1 billion Convergent Technology Park in Remington, Virginia, the $630 million Dulles Digital Data Center (Buildings 8 and 6) in Dulles, Virginia, and the $330 million Google Red Hawk Data Center (Phase 2) in Mesa, Arizona. The largest institutional projects to enter planning were the $275 million Win-River Resort and Casino in Redding, California, and the $254 million AdventHealth Hospital in Weaverville, North Carolina.

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