NAHB analysis of Census construction spending data finds that over the last year, the pace of private single-family construction spending increased 9.7% and multifamily construction spending increased 31.5%.
For the month of February, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of single-family construction spending was $203.9 billion, down 1.4% from January. The February rate of multifamily construction spending was $50.9 billion, 4.1% higher than January.
The construction data illustrate the degree to which multifamily spending (measured on the right axis below, at a smaller scale than the larger single-family category) 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.
Looking at the overall construction sector, residential and non-residential construction spending tend to move together. Over the current business cycle, non-residential construction spending has lagged residential spending somewhat, with housing spending leading the rise and fall in non-residential construction.
From February 2014, the pace of combined public and private non-residential construction spending increased 4.6% on a seasonally adjusted annual rate basis to $611.5 billion. From January 2015, non-residential was down 0.2%.