Charts courtesy of Dodge Construction Network.

Divergent trends in commercial and institutional planning contributed to a flat Dodge Momentum Index (DMI) score in January, reports Dodge Construction Network (DCN). Institutional planning rose by 2.1% in January while commercial planning declined by 1%.

January’s overall DMI reading was 184.1, a 0.1% increase over December’s revised score of 183.9. The DMI is a monthly measure of the initial report for nonresidential building projects in planning, shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.

“Divergent trends between commercial and institutional planning continued in January, nullifying any growth on the overall DMI,” said Sarah Martin, DCN’s associate director of forecasting. “Nevertheless, lending standards began to loosen in January and the Fed is expected to begin cutting rates in the back half of the year. With this in mind, momentum should resume in commercial activity throughout 2024 as owners and developers gain confidence in market conditions for 2025.”

Slower growth in warehouse planning pulled down the commercial portion of the DMI in January, while steady education and healthcare planning supported growth on the institutional side. The DMI was 3% lower yearly than in January 2023. The commercial segment was down 12% from year-ago levels, while the institutional segment was up 15% over the same period.

Fifteen projects valued at $100 million or more entered planning in January. The largest commercial projects included the $200 million renovation of the historic Magnolia Hotel in Dallas and the $169 million Microsoft Data Center in Leesburg, Virginia. The largest institutional projects included the $224 million NREL laboratory in Golden, Colorado, and the $223 million Wichita State University Biomedical building in Wichita, Kansas.

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