“Out to 2021, residential will be the main driver of total construction starts, recording year-over-year increases of nearly +6.0% or more,” Chief Economist Alex Carrick said. “Non-residential building will disappoint, with gains of only about +2.0% each year. Engineering will be strong in 2018 and 2019, as energy initiatives and infrastructure work are promoted by Washington, but will then moderate in 2020-21.”
The forecast which combines ConstructConnect's proprietary data with macroeconomic factors and Oxford Economics econometric expertise, shows some of the more robust 2018 starts forecasts:
- Single-family residential, +8.8%
- Warehouses, +4.7%
- Nursing homes, +5.9%
- Educational facilities, +4.2%
- Roads, +5.9%
- Bridges, +10.2%
- Miscellaneous civil (power, oil and gas), +13.8%
2017 total starts are now expected to be +7.9% (versus an earlier calculated +4.5%). Residential has been upgraded to +10.1% and engineering/civil to +23.1%. Non-residential building has been left essentially flat at -0.5%.
For 2018, the new forecasts shave a bit off what was previously expected. Total starts are now projected to be +4.8%, a little slower than the +5.9% of a quarter ago. Residential will be +6.7% in 2018; non-res building, +1.9%; and heavy engineering/civil, +6.6%.
In residential construction, the multi-family market has had its turn and it will be the single-family market that will expand more rapidly moving forward, aided by family-formations among the millennial generation.
The forecast reports that educational facilities will grow faster than hospitals in 2018, but beginning in 2019 their positions will reverse. Some other non-residential building type-of-structure categories with bullish outlooks include: courthouses and prisons; warehouses; and nursing homes. Airports and sports stadiums will also be stepping into the construction spotlight.
The report noted a few ongoing economic trends:
- A synchronous world expansion is underway, with North America, Japan, China and Europe all experiencing GDP growth;
- Based on demographics, housing starts have fallen short of potential for almost a decade;
- Office space demand will increasingly come from firms engaged in high-tech;
- Prices for many internationally traded commodities are on the mend