Total construction starts rose 10% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $889.7 billion, according to Dodge Construction Network. All three sectors improved: nonresidential building starts rose 15%, residential starts moved 9% higher, and nonbuilding starts increased by 6%.
“Construction starts have struggled over the last three months as concerns over rising prices, shortages of materials, and scarce labor led to declines in activity,” stated Richard Branch, Chief Economist for Dodge Construction Network. “The increase in September, however, partially allays the fear that construction is headed for a free-fall and shows that owners and developers are still ready to move ahead with projects. Starts are likely to continue to trend in a positive but sawtooth fashion in the coming months until a more balanced recovery takes hold next year.”
Below is the full breakdown:
For the 12 months ending in September 2021, total nonbuilding starts were 1% lower than the 12 months ending in September 2020. Environmental public works starts were 22% higher and highway and bridge starts were up 3%, while utility and gas plant starts were down 20% and miscellaneous nonbuilding starts were 16% lower on a 12-month rolling basis.
The largest nonbuilding projects to break ground in September were the $500 million Whale offshore oil field pipeline near Houston, Texas, the $485 million Chimney Hollow Reservoir Dam in Berthoud, Colorado, and the $450 million repairs to docks at the United States Coast Guard Station in Fort Macon, North Carolina.
For the 12 months ending in September 2021, nonresidential building starts were 1% lower than in the 12 months ending in September 2020. Commercial starts were down 1%, institutional starts rose 1% and manufacturing starts dropped 12% in the 12 months ending September 2021.
The largest nonresidential building projects to break ground in September were the $670 million modernization program at Pittsburgh International Airport in Pittsburgh., the $658 million Irvine Campus Medical Complex in Irvine, California, and the $495 million Phillips 66 Sweeny Hub Fractionator in Sweeny, Texas.
For the 12 months ending in September 2021, total residential starts were 22% higher than the 12 months ending in September 2020. Single-family starts gained 26%, and multifamily starts were up 10% on a 12-month sum basis.
The largest multifamily structures to break ground in September were the $300 million Islablue Apartments in Long Beach, NY, the $256 million Station Square Apartments (phase 2A) in Ronkonkoma, New York, and the $215 million 906 W. Randolph mixed-use project in Chicago.