Private residential construction spending was relatively unchanged for the first month of 2013 due to declines in the volatile remodeling spending category. Nonetheless, total residential construction spending remains near post-2009 highs and has experienced growth in 15 of the last 17 months according to data from the Census Bureau.
Spending on new single-family homes continued to expand, rising 3.6% over December’s pace. On a year-over-year basis, the nominal value of spending on new single-family homes has risen over 30%. Since bottoming out around the midway point of 2009, construction spending has surged 65%. The current NAHB forecast calls for single-family housing starts to grow in 2013, with a slower pace of expansion anticipated during the first quarter of this year.
Construction spending on new multifamily projects also increased in January, growing 1.7% from December 2012. Gains in spending have occurred in each of the last 16 months. On a year-over-year basis, the level of apartment spending has increased almost 55% and has – as of January – more than doubled from the cyclical low set in August 2010.
Offsetting the gains in single-family and multifamily construction, January saw a 4% drop in improvement spending that resulted flat headline growth for total private residential category. The 3-month moving average of remodeling spending was down almost 2% but remains near post-2007 highs.