Three top economists, who participated in an Associated Builders and Contractors webinar recently, are optimistic about the building forecast for 2016. ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu, American Institute of Architects Chief Economist Kermit Baker, and National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist David Crowe predicted continued industry growth in 2016, according to Construction Dive’s Emily Peiffer.
Basu predicted the industry will see a 7.4% growth in nonresidential construction in 2016, but added that the main problem facing builders is a lack of available workers.
Baker expects big growth in the single-family sector due to pent-up demand. "Led by tremendous demand for energy-efficient spaces, spending on home improvements is on track to reach an all-time high by year's end," Baker said.
Due to an improving job market, Crowe said the residential construction industry should expand next year. He said he has a "reasonably optimistic view of single-family construction" and expects 2015 to be about 11% stronger than 2014. Next year should see even greater gains for the residential industry. Single-family construction, according to Crowe, is currently 53% back to what is considered "normal" levels, and should be 91% of the way there by the end of 2017.