HAMILTON, NJ – Total housing starts rose 12% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $ 787.9 billion. While the increase is substantial, it does not cancel out the significant drop in September launches. All three main categories increased during the month, with housing starts increasing by 25%, non-residential buildings by 19% and residential activities by 2%. Housing starts rose in four of the five regions in October, with the only decline seen in the South Central region.
In the first 10 months of 2020, total housing starts were 11% lower than in the same period in 2019. Non-residential housing starts were 24% lower and those for non-buildings were 14% lower. However, housing starts were 2% higher in the first 10 months of this year. In the twelve months to October 2020, total housing starts decreased by 6% compared to the previous twelve months. Housing starts for non-residential buildings were 17% lower and housing starts for non-residential buildings 7% lower, while housing starts for residential buildings rose by 4% in the 12 months to October 2020. In October the Dodge index rose from the level of 12% to 167 (2000 = 100) 149 in September. The Dodge Index was flat year over year, down 8% from its pre-February pandemic level.
"The October win was welcome news after taking a big step back into the previous month," said Richard Branch, chief economist at Dodge Data & Analytics. “However, the month's increase does not mean that the economy and the construction sector are okay. The economy lost ground when the incentives of the CARES law ended. With the next wave of COVID-19 infections imminent, the economy will continue to lose steam until further fiscal stimulus is in place and a vaccine is widely available. Until then, the construction sector will continue to be volatile. "
Non-building construction saw a solid 25% gain in October, rising to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $ 222.4 billion. The profit was largely driven by an extensive tunnel project that increased freeway and bridge launches by 51%. The utility / gas category increased 41% while various non-buildings increased 6%. Public environmental works decreased by 24% during the month.
The largest non-construction project to break the ground in October was the $ 3.6 billion Hampton Roads Bridge and Tunnel project in Norfolk, VA. Also in October, the $ 1.0 billion Gemini solar project in Clark County NV and the $ 450 million Indiana Crossroads wind farm in White County IN began.
In the first 10 months of the year, total non-construction works decreased by 14% compared to the same period in 2019. Starts in the motorway and bridge category increased by 8% while public environmental works decreased by 8%. The various categories of non-buildings and utility / gas facilities have each decreased by 34% since the beginning of the year. In the twelve months to October 2020, total housing starts decreased by 7% compared to the twelve months to October 2019. Road and bridge starts were 8% higher, while utility / gas starts decreased 14%. Housing starts for environmental public works decreased by 5% in the 12 months to October 2020 and the various housing starts were 29% lower.
Non-residential buildings Takeoffs rebounded slightly from the sharp decline in September and rose 19% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $ 209.0 billion. Several large office and warehouse projects kicked off during the month that accelerated commercial launch by 23%. Production starts rose 26% during the month, while a large courthouse project helped institutional starts up 15%.
The largest non-residential construction project started in October was the third phase of the Project Echo Facebook data center in Sandston, VA, valued at $ 585 million. The $ 400 million Tesla Gigafactory in Austin, TX and the Campus at Horton office project in San Diego, California, valued at $ 330 million, also went live during the month.
Total housing starts for non-residential buildings decreased by 24% in the first 10 months of 2020. Commercial launches were 27% lower and institutional launches 16% lower, while production starts fell 54%. In the twelve months to October 2020, housing starts for non-residential buildings fell by a total of 17%. Institutional housing starts declined 13% in the twelve months to October 2020, commercial starts decreased 20% and production starts decreased 22%.
Residential building Takeoffs rose 2% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $ 356.5 billion. The increase in the multi-family sector has been robust, up 62% from a 52% loss in the previous month. Single family starts fell 9% in October.
The largest multi-family home to break the ground in October was the $ 386 million Waterview at Greenpoint project in Brooklyn, NY. A $ 250 million mixed-use project was also launched on 47th Street in New York, NY, and a $ 200 million residential tower on High Street in Houston, TX.
In the first 10 months of 2020, the start of construction for residential buildings was 2% higher than in the same period in 2019. The number of single-family beginnings rose by 8%, that of multi-family beginnings by 11%. In the 12 months to October, the total number of new homes was 4% higher than in the 12 months to October 2019. The number of single family beginnings rose by 8%, while the number of starts with multiple families fell by 5%.