HAMILTON, NJ – Total housing starts rose 19% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $ 793.3 billion. All three major construction sectors saw growth: non-residential construction starts rose 16% and residential construction 12%, while non-residential construction rose 40% over the month. While large projects certainly impacted profits in August, removing those projects would still have resulted in a profit for the month.
In the first eight months of the year, year-to-date starts were 14% lower than the same period in 2019. Non-residential starts were 24% lower and non-building starts were 20% lower, but residential starts were less than one percent . In the twelve months to August 2020, housing starts decreased by 6% compared to the twelve months to August 2019. Housing starts for non-residential buildings decreased by 13% and housing starts for non-residential buildings by 9% in the twelve months to August 2020, while housing starts for residential buildings increased by 3%. In August, the Dodge Index rose 19% from 141 in June to 168 (2000 = 100). The Dodge Index fell 8% year over year and 6% below its pre-February pandemic levels.
"Housing starts are doing well after the April Nadir," said Richard Branch, chief economist at Dodge Data & Analytics. “Residential and commercial construction drives profits, while the public side of building construction turns out to be a brake on growth. The regional pattern has also evened out with gains in launches in all regions except the Midwest in August – somewhat dampening concerns about the potential impact of rising COVID cases in the south and west. However, the emerging recovery at launches will face challenges with the summer ahead. The phasing out of the extended unemployment insurance benefits and small business loans provided for in the CARES bill, the budget crises facing state and local governments, and the impending phasing out of the FAST bill on September 30th will all have a dampening impact on launches. "
Non-building construction grew 40% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $ 184.4 billion, almost reversing the sizeable decline in the previous month as two large projects spurred activity. Utility / gas plant starts have more than doubled, while public environmental works saw an 89% increase and freeway and bridge starts increased 13%. Various non-housing starts lost 5%.
The largest non-construction project that kicked off in August was the $ 1.3 billion wastewater control facility in San Francisco, CA. Also later that month began the $ 888 million Dania Beach Clean Energy Center in Dania Beach, FL and the $ 310 million new Aztec Stadium at San Diego State University in San Diego, CA.
In the first eight months of the year, total non-housing starts decreased by 20% compared to the same period last year. Starts in the highways and bridges category increased 1%, while the environmental public works category fell 15%, the other non-construction sector fell 34% and the electricity / gas facilities category fell 45%. On a rolling 12 month basis, total non-construction starts decreased 9% last year compared to the 12 months ended August 2019. Starts in the roads and bridges category decreased by 2%, while starts in the electricity / Gas equipment went down 12%. Environmental public works start by 8% and various public works by 21%.
Non-residential buildings The August launches were also aided by large projects in the office and manufacturing sectors, which grew 16% to $ 236.7 million. However, removing these projects would not have prevented an increase in non-residential housing starts. Commercial starts increased 36% and production starts increased 201%. Institutional launches, however, declined 7% despite small increases in education and healthcare.
The largest non-residential construction project that began in August was the Facebook data center (Woolhawk project) in Gallatin, TN, valued at $ 1.0 billion. Also during the month, Texas Instruments' $ 740 million manufacturing facility in Richardson, TX, and a $ 700 million mixed-use office and hotel project in Boston, MA began.
On an annualized basis, non-residential housing starts were overall 24% lower than in the first eight months of 2019. Institutional housing starts decreased 16%, commercial housing starts decreased 27% and production starts were 47% lower than a year Year before. In the 12 months to August 2020, construction starts for non-residential buildings decreased by 13% compared to the 12 months to August 2019. Commercial launches were down 16%, institutional launches by 13%, and production launches by 1%.
Residential building Takeoffs rose 12% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $ 372.1 billion. The number of apartment buildings started increased by 62%, while the number of single-family houses decreased by 3%.
The largest multi-family structure groundbreaking in August was the mixed-use property of Mana & # 39; olana Place in Honolulu, HI, valued at $ 549 million. Also in August began the $ 500 million Pacific Park Mixed Use Development in Brooklyn, NY, and a $ 250 million condominium building at Union Theological Seminary Space in New York, NY.
In the first eight months of 2020, housing starts for residential buildings decreased by less than one percent compared to the previous year. Single-family beginnings grew by 4%, multi-family beginnings by 11%. In the 12 months that ended in August 2020, total housing starts increased by 3%, with single-family starts increasing by 6% and multi-family starts increasing by 4%.