National Association of Home Builders analysis of Census Construction Spending data shows that total private residential construction spending stood at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of $520.9 billion in August, 0.5% up from downwardly revised July estimates. It was the fourth consecutive monthly increase after a dip in April. Hurricane Harvey that made landfall late in August did not have significant impacts on construction spending in the same month. The total private residential construction spending was 11.7% higher than a year ago.
The monthly gains are largely attributed to the steady growth of spending on single-family, multifamily construction and home improvement. Single-family construction spending inched up 0.3%, while multifamily spending rebounded by 0.9% in August. Spending on improvements rose to $194.8 billion, up by 0.5% over last month.
The NAHB construction spending index, which is shown in the graph below (the base is January 2000), illustrates the strong growth in new multifamily construction since 2010 and a more modest growth in single-family construction and home improvement spending.
Private nonresidential construction spending increased 0.5% to a rate of $434 billion. However, it was 2.5% lower than a year ago. The largest contribution to this month-over-month nonresidential spending increase was made by the class of transportation (4.4 %), followed by educational (3.4 %), and lodging (3.2 %).