Rosier Forecast for Residential and Commercial Construction

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Builders, architects and other construction professionals should be a lot happier this holiday season, because the new-home and commercial construction forecasts are a lot rosier for 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and other organizations.

Here is a list of specific statistics that point to a more robust construction outlook:

  • NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index: In November, NAHB/Wells Fargo released National and Regional Housing Market Index (HMI) data, which revealed numbers that improved or remained steady nearly every month in 2012. The HMI gauges builder perceptions of and confidence in current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months.
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released statistics for October 2012 that point to increased residential activity. The report compared seasonally adjusted annual rates for building permits, starts and completions in October to those in September and those in October 2011; all but one category showed improvement. To see the specific rates and percentage increases, follow the link to the full report.
  • The American Institute of Architects: At the end of July, the AIA Consensus Construction Forecast Panel stated that nonresidential construction spending is projected to increase 4.4 percent in 2012, much higher than the 2.1 percent forecasted growth. The panel also predicted that nonresidential construction spending will be 6.2 percent in 2013.
  • McGraw-Hill Construction: McGraw-Hill Construction’s Dodge Outlook Report shows modest construction growth in 2013. The report predicts that total U.S. commercial construction starts will rise 6 percent to $483.7 billion. Robert Murray, vice president of economic affairs, said that new construction starts in 2010 edged up 2 percent, followed by another 1 percent gain in 2011 and a 5 percent increase in 2012, to $458 billion.

Remodeling Industry Outlook

Remodelers also can expect a more promising year. The Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University released a Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) in October. It predicts annual homeowner improvement spending will experience double-digit growth in the first half of 2013. Kermit Baker, the program’s director, says the increase will be due to “strong growth in sales of existing homes and housing starts, coupled with historically low financing costs.”

If you are a professional in residential or commercial building and remodeling industries, we’d love to hear your thoughts on these reports and your predictions for 2013.