April continues to prove itself a strong month for builders this year.
According to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau, overall construction spending, which includes both private and public projects, increased 2.7% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $ 869.1 billion. On an annual basis, that figure stands 10.5% below the same month one year ago.
But with improvements in residential, nonresidential and infrastructure spending, the April numbers may offer “reason to hope that the worst may be behind” the construction industry, according to Patrick Newport, a U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight.
Total residential construction, though, showed both sequential and annual gains, rising 4.4% on a monthly basis and 4.1% on a yearly comparison, to a seasonally adjusted level of $263 billion in April. The reason? Single-family construction, which rose 3.4% in April to a seasonally adjusted pace of $122.7 billion. That monthly jump was the “strongest in eight months,” said Newport.
And, year-over-year, April’s level of single-family activity represents a 29% jump for that sector.
Multifamily continued to struggle, however, with a $15.2 billion pace, seasonally adjusted. “The 1.9% drop in multifamily spending was one of the report's few eyesores,” noted Newport. “This drop, nonetheless, was the smallest in 13 months.”
Alison Rice is senior editor, online, at BUILDER magazine.