Data courtesy of Dodge Construction Network.

Dodge Construction Network’s Momentum Index (DMI) fell nearly 9% in March, led by a sizeable drop in institutional planning. March’s DMI declined 8.6% to 164.0 from a revised February reading of 179.5. Commercial planning fell by 3.2%, while institutional planning dropped by 17.2%.

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

According to Sarah Martin, associate director of forecasting, the drop in the institutional index is due to less education project planning.

“Between February 2023 and February 2024, life science and research and development laboratory projects accounted for roughly 34% of education planning value, with that share reaching 59% in some months,” she says. “In March, however, that share dropped to 7%.

Martin adds that the institutional market is at risk of a “substantive” correction after this past year’s growth.

On the commercial side, slower office and hotel planning growth contributed to its 3% decline. The DMI for the commercial index was 12% lower yearly than in March 2023. The commercial segment was down 14% from year-ago levels, while the institutional segment was down 10% over the same period.

In March, 14 projects valued at $100 million or more entered planning. The largest commercial projects included the $215 million Microsoft Data Center in San Antonio, Texas, and the $158 million Melrod Data Center Building B in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The largest institutional projects were the $277 million Trident Health Hospital in Johns Island, South Carolina, and the $220 million Sunset Amphitheater in McKinney, Texas.

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