Multifamily construction spending continues decline in February

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new residential construction

The Census Bureau’s report on construction spending said that multifamily residential construction spending in February was down 0.16 percent from the revised level of the month before. Single-family residential construction spending was reported to rise 1.4 percent while spending on improvements was up 0.2 percent.

The value of total private residential construction put in place in February 2024 was reported to be $901.1 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis. This figure, which includes spending on both new construction and on improvements, was reported to be up $6.6 billion month-over-month. However, January’s figure was revised lower by $6.3 billion, so the reported value of residential construction put in place in February is only $240 million higher than that reported last month. Residential construction spending in February was reported to be up 6.3 percent year-over-year.

Multifamily construction spending trending lower

The value of new private construction of multifamily residential buildings put in place in February was reported to be $133.2 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis. This was down $216 million from the revised level for January. In addition, the January figure was revised lower by $1.04 billion, so the preliminary multifamily construction spending figure reported this month is $1.26 billion, or 0.94 percent, lower than the preliminary figure for January reported last month. The reported value of multifamily housing construction put in place in February 2024 was 6.1 percent higher than the level of February 2023.

By comparison, the Census Bureau’s New Residential Construction report said the number of unit completions in February in buildings with 5 or more units rose 20.8 percent from the month before. Completions were 18.8 percent higher than their year-earlier level.

Governments were reported to have put $11.6 billion in residential construction in place in February on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis.

The value of new single-family residential construction put in place in February was $438.8 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis. This was up $6.1 billion from the revised (+$2.6 billion) level for January and was up 17.2 percent from the level of February 2023.

The value of improvements to residential buildings put in place in February was reported to be $329.1 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis. This was up $714 million from the revised (-$7.87 billion) level for January and was down $18.3 billion from the year-earlier level. The Census Bureau does not separate out improvements for single-family and multifamily residential buildings.

Charting the data

The following chart shows the value of residential construction put in place each month since January 2012. It also shows the trend line for single-family residential construction based on growth in construction volume during the period from January 2012 to June 2018.

multifamily residential construction spending

The chart shows that the value of new single-family residential construction put in place has been growing rapidly since hitting a recent low in April 2023. However, it is still below the trend line shown. The value of multifamily residential construction put in place and that of improvements to residential buildings have been trending lower recently. The value of multifamily construction put in place reached its recent high in August 2023 and is down 2.0 percent since then. The value of improvements put in place reached its recent high in May 2022 and is down 10.7 percent since then.

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