Total private residential construction spending increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $378.5 billion according to the latest Census estimates. The current reading is a slight increase of 0.1% from the revised March estimate and 17.2% higher than one year ago.
Single-family spending increased by 1.3% month-over-month while the home improvement category decreased by 2.2%. Multifamily spending posted another strong month-over-month increase of 2.7% from the revised March estimate.
The figures show significant improvements in residential construction spending for all categories from the prior year. From April 2013, on a 3-month moving average basis, construction spending in single-family increased by 14.6%, multifamily increased by 32.2%, and remodeling increased by 18.5%.
The growth in multifamily construction spending appears to match builder and developer sentiment about current conditions in the apartment and condominium market. The NAHB Multifamily Production Index (MPI) increased three points to 53 in the first quarter of 2014. The index and all of its components are scaled so that any number over 50 indicates that more respondents report conditions are improving than report conditions are getting worse. The MPI aligns with NAHB’s expectation of a 6 percent increase in multifamily starts this year.