New construction starts fall in August

New construction starts fell 11 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $554.5 billion, reports Dodge Data & Analytics, lowering the Dodge Momentum Index to 117. Each of construction’s sectors experienced declines.

Nonresidential building in August dropped 16 percent to $160.7 billion. In this sector, the commercial building categories as a group fell 24 percent, hotel construction dropped 35 percent and office construction declined 34 percent. Despite this, stores and warehouses registered slight gains, rising 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

The institutional building group in August fell 11 percent, with healthcare facility construction declining 28 percent, transportation terminals down 39 percent, and amusement and recreational buildings falling 43 percent. However, the educational facilities category rose 17 percent due to the start of a $705 million National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kan.

Residential building fell 8 percent to $165.5 in August. During the month, multifamily housing retreated 23 percent and single-family housing rose 1 percent.

Nonbuilding construction in August fell 12 percent to $128.3 billion, declining for the third month in a row. The public works categories as a group decreased 15 percent, and highway and bridge construction fell 15 percent. The environmental public works categories were mixed, with river/harbor development down 16 percent and water supply systems down 17 percent. However, sewer construction rose 23 percent, and the electric power and gas plant category remained unchanged.

According to Dodge Data & Analytics, during the first eight months of 2015, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $446.1 billion, up 15 percent from the same period one year ago.