NEW CONSTRUCTION STARTS IN FEBRUARY CLIMB 10 PERCENT
Dodge Index up 12 points to 141, compared to January’s 129 reading
February’s construction starts, reported by Dodge Data & Analytics, rose 10 percent over January’s figures to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $667.6 billion.
The nonbuilding construction sector showed the biggest increase, up 49 percent over January. The electric and gas category jumped 328 percent due to the start of a $3 billion liquefied natural gas export terminal in Freemont, Texas. There were also six very large power plant projects entered as February starts – a $761 million gas-fired power plant in Connecticut plus five large solar power projects, of which two were located in Texas ($394 million and $375 million), two in California ($388 million and $270 million), and one in Arizona ($250 million.) In addition, February included the start of several large wind farm projects, with two located in Texas ($186 million and $185 million) and one in West Virginia ($155 million).
Highway and bridge construction, which had climbed 19 percent in January with the help of a $655 million highway toll lanes project in North Carolina, retreated 17 percent in February. Also dropping back in February was sewer construction, sliding 7 percent. On the plus side, water supply construction increased 53 percent due to the February start of a $159 million water treatment plant in Texas
Nonresidential building, at $185.5 billion (annual rate), rose 4 percent in February. Hotel construction in February climbed 48 percent, aided by the start of the $357 million hotel portion of the $530 million Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center in Aurora, Colorado and the $177 million hotel portion of the $306 million Omni City Center Convention Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. During the first two months of 2016, the top five metropolitan areas ranked by the dollar amount of new office starts were:
- San Francisco CA
- New York NY
- Washington DC
- Seattle WA
- Boston MA
- Residential building in February dropped 5 percent to $281.3 billion (annual rate), following the 5 percent gain reported in January. Single family housing receded 3 percent, reflecting a varied pattern by geography – the South Atlantic, down 9 percent; the West and South Central, each down 5 percent; and the Northeast and Midwest, each up 7 percent. Multifamily housing slipped 8 percent in February after strengthening 24 percent over the previous two months. the top five for multifamily construction were:
- Miami FL
- Boston MA
- Atlanta GA
- San Francisco CA.