NAHB analysis of Census construction spending data finds that over the last year, the pace of private single-family construction spending increased 7.8% and multifamily construction spending increased 23.4%, despite monthly declines for March.
For the month, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of single-family construction spending was $200.7 billion, down 1.8% from February. The March rate of multifamily construction spending was $49.2 billion, 2.1% lower than February.
The construction data (indexed in the graph below, so that the January 2000 pace is equal to 100 for both variables) illustrate the degree to which multifamily spending is thus far leading the recovery for the residential construction sector. NAHB expects gains for multifamily to slow in 2015, while single-family construction increases.
It is worth noting that the Census measure for total private residential construction spending shows a 2.6% year-over-year decline, despite annual gains for single-family and multifamily development. This decline is due to a decrease in the separate improvement category, which contrasts with other measures, including the NAHB Remodeling Market Index, which indicates strength for the home improvement sector.
From March 2014, the pace of combined public and private non-residential construction spending increased 4.7% on a seasonally adjusted annual rate basis to $611.8 billion. From February 2015, non-residential spending was effectively flat, declining 0.1%.
The largest year-over-year gains for nonresidential construction spending have been experienced by the classes of manufacturing-related construction (50.7% gain), amusement/recreation (23.8%), lodging (22%), office (19.8%), and sewage/waste disposal (19.6%).