September Starts Drop 5%

News & Events

September Starts Drop 5%

New construction starts in September fell 5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $709.6 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. Nonresidential building in September was $236.4 billion (annual rate), down 6%.  The commercial building categories as a group fell 13%, retreating for the third month in a row after the robust volume back in June that included the start of such projects as the $1.8 billion Spiral office tower in the Hudson Yards district of New York NY and a $665 million office tower on North Wacker Drive in Chicago IL  Office construction in September dropped 38% from August that included groundbreaking for a $520 million California state government office building in Sacramento CA.  By contrast, the top three office projects that reached groundbreaking in September were smaller in scale – a $90 million office building in Allentown PA, an $82 million office building renovation in Woodlawn MD, and the $75 million office portion of a $200 million mixed-use complex in Coral Gables FL. Stores and warehouses also weakened in September, with each registering a 4% decline.  Hotel construction in September was unchanged from the previous month, helped by the $114 million hotel portion of the $180 million Great Wolf Resort and Water Park in the Stockton CA area.  The commercial garage category was the one commercial project type to report a September gain, rising 40% after a lackluster August.  Manufacturing plant construction also showed improvement from a lackluster August, climbing 36% with the lift coming from the start of a $800 million aluminum rolling mill in Ashland KY and a $190 million research and design facility expansion in Fitchburg WI. The 1% decline for total construction starts on an unadjusted basis during the January-September period of 2018 was the result of a varied pattern by major sector.  Nonresidential building year-to-date dropped 7%, as a 15% increase for manufacturing plant construction was outweighed by declines of 6% for commercial building and 11% for institutional building.