Residential construction spending rises in April

850
residential construction spending

The Census Bureau’s report on construction spending shows that spending on residential construction put in place in April was up 1.0 percent from the revised level for March. Overall construction spending was up 0.2 percent for the month and was 5.8 percent higher than its level in April 2020.

Residential spending up overall

The preliminary report on total private spending on residential construction put in place in April 2021 came in at $729 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis. This figure, which includes spending on both new construction and on improvements, was up 30 percent from the level in the pandemic-affected month of April 2020.

The value of new multifamily housing construction put in place in April came in at $98.5 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis. This was up 1.9 percent from the revised level for March. The value of multifamily housing construction put in place in April 2021 was 16.7 percent higher than the level of April 2020 and was 13.3 percent higher than the level in January 2020, before the effects of the pandemic were felt.

The value of new single-family residential construction put in place in April was $396.3 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis. This was up 1.3 percent from the revised level for March and was up 40 percent from the level of April 2020.

The value of improvements to residential buildings put in place in April came in at $234.5 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis. This was up 0.3 percent from the revised level for March and was up 16.7 percent from the level of April 2020. The Census Bureau does not indicate whether the improvements were for single-family or multifamily residential buildings.

Charting the data

The first chart, below, shows the history of new residential construction spending since January 2000 for single-family housing, multifamily housing and residential improvements. When viewed this way, it is clear that the recent surge in residential construction spending on single-family homes has greatly outpaced the increase in spending on either multifamily housing or on residential improvements.

residential construction spending

The second chart plots the same data, but it normalizes the spending levels so that the readings for January 2000 are 100 in each case. When viewed this way, we can see that spending on construction of multifamily housing has grown much more over the last 20 years than has spending on construction of single-family homes.

residential construction spending

The final chart focuses on the time period since January 2017. In this chart, the spending on residential construction put in place for the two categories of residential construction are normalized so that the readings for January 2017 equal 100. This presentation of the data shows more clearly the strength of the rebound in single-family housing construction since last summer. Note also that the revised data from the Census Bureau shows multifamily housing construction spending continuing to increase through the spring of this year. The report from last month indicated that spending on multifamily housing had peaked in January and was falling through the first months of 2021.

residential construction spending

The report from the Census Bureau also includes information on spending on other types of construction projects. The full report can be found here.