The Dodge Momentum Index surged again in November, climbing 13.9% to 149.5 (2000=100) from the revised October reading of 131.3. The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year. The November increase was the second month of strong gains after a four-month period of softness. November’s advance was the result of healthy gains in both the commercial and institutional sectors. From October to November, the commercial portion of the Momentum Index advanced 19.6%, while the institutional portion grew 5.5%. On a year-over-year basis, the Momentum Index is now nearly 21% higher, with the commercial portion up 24% and the institutional side up 17%. The turnaround in October and November suggest that building activity should continue to expand in 2018.
In November, 21 projects each with a value of $100 million or more entered planning. For the commercial building sector, the largest projects include a $300 million mixed use facility containing two hotels at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and a $230 million Hayden Ave Life Sciences office campus in Lexington MA. The leading institutional projects were a $200 million UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Hospital in Pittsburgh PA and a $200 million project that will provide additions and alterations for several schools within the Uniondale (NY) School District.