Key Highlights

  • Residential building strong in December
  • All other construction flat in 2020
  • Construction spending overall in 2020 up +4.7%

US Census Bureau’s Latest Report Shows Residential Building Carried Construction Industry

 Just as the housing industry brightened the overall economy in 2020, residential building carried the construction industry.  With a strong December, homebuilding finished the year up +11.8% while all other combined construction was flat in 2020, according to new US Census Bureau figures.  Construction in the private sector decreased -3% for the year.

The monthly increase in residential construction in December was +3.1% higher than in November. Overall construction spending topped $1.49T, an increase of 1% from November 2020 and an increase of+4.7%, from 2019.

Residential Building Accounted for Nearly 50% of December’s Spending

 The annual rate of house-related construction spending in December 2020 came in with an increased of approximately +21% y/y.  Private construction of single-family homes in December came in at an estimated $365B, an increase of +23.5% compared with December 2019.  Private spending on multifamily construction came in with an estimated $91B, an increase of +18% y/y.

Median Home Price for Existing Homes at End of Year Up Nearly +13%

The US Census Bureau indicated that at year’s end, the median home price for existing homes was $309,800, an increase of nearly +13% from 2019.  The Case-Shiller Home Price Index tracked surging home prices in November and indicated that home prices exceeded the peak of home prices in July 2006. The latest weekly Mortgage Bankers Association survey indicated that the average size of a home mortgage was close to $400,000.

Non-Residential Building Saw Steep Declines

 Construction in non-residential sectors of the industry saw steep declines in 2020.  Construction in lodging was down -24% in December 2020 compared with December 2019 and -14% for the year.  Construction within the manufacturing sector was down -18% m/m and -10% y/y.  Building within the amusement/recreation sector was off -16% m/m and -7% y/y.

The only category within the building industry that saw a bigger annual percentage increase than residential construction was spending on public safety. This tiny sector posted a gain of +42% to $15B.

Thanks to TheRealDeal.



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