New construction starts in July maintained June’s pace, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $629.4 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics.

Nonresidential building showed slight improvement following its uninspiring June performance, while residential building continued to trend up. Through the first seven months of 2015, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $397.0 billion, up 19 percent from the same period a year ago. The latest month’s data kept the Dodge Index at 133, the same as June’s upwardly revised reading.

“For nonresidential building, support has come primarily from its institutional segment, including educational facilities, transportation-related buildings, and amusement and recreational facilities,” says Robert A. Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics. “The commercial categories showed some deceleration during the early months of 2015, but positive real estate market fundamentals are expected to encourage renewed growth. Residential building has benefitted from this year’s heightened amount of multifamily starts, and even the single family side of the market is showing some hesitant signs of strengthening.”

Nonresidential building in July increased 2 percent to $194.0 billion (annual rate). The commercial categories as a whole bounced back 12 percent in July after retreating by the same percentage in June. Office construction climbed 7 percent in July.

“During the first half of 2015, office construction appeared to level off after its substantial 35-percent gain in 2014,” says Murray. “On the positive side, office vacancy rates continued to recede through this year’s second quarter, the volume of office construction is still quite low by historical standards, and the July pickup in construction starts may well be an indication of renewed growth to come.”

Store construction in July improved 6 percent, and hotel construction, which has been the one commercial property type to register healthy year-to-date percentage growth, slipped 4 percent in July.

The institutional building group in July eased back 1 percent, receding for the second month in a row after improved activity earlier in 2015. The educational facilities category dropped 20 percent after strengthening during the previous three months. Healthcare facilities in July fell 15 percent, maintaining the up-and-down pattern that’s been present in 2015, and smaller institutional categories all registered gains in July.

Residential building, at $288.5 billion (annual rate), advanced 4 percent in July. In similarity to recent months, the main residential push in July came from multifamily housing which surged 21 percent.