Dodge Data & Analytics, New York, has reported construction starts rose 2% in March as rising materials prices continue to affect the industry.
“The March increase in construction starts is certainly welcome news following the past three months of decline,” said Richard Branch, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics. “Construction will continue to improve as the year moves on. However, just as the pandemic is beginning to loosen its grip on the economy, logistical problems and the rapid escalation in material prices have stepped in as the primary risk to the construction sector. These issues may restrain opportunity in the coming months, causing the sector’s recovery to lag that of the overall economy.”
Nonresidential building construction rose 13% in March. Commercial construction starts increased 11% as all commercial sectors experienced gains, and institutional starts grew 15%.
Residential building construction rose by less than 1% in March. Single-family housing dropped 9%, and multifamily construction jumped 33%.
Nonbuilding construction fell 7% in March following gains in February.
For the 12 months ending March, nonresidential building was down 28% compared with the 12 months ending March 2020. Residential building rose 6%, and nonbuilding construction fell 10%.