Multifamily construction spending in decline

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The Census Bureau’s report on construction spending said that the value of multifamily residential construction put in place in April was down 0.30 percent from the revised level of the month before. Spending on single-family residential construction was reported to rise 0.07 percent while spending on improvements was up 0.31 percent.

The value of total private residential construction put in place in April 2024 was reported to be $890.4 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis. This figure, which includes spending on both new construction and on improvements, was reported to be up $892 million month-over-month. In addition, March’s figure was revised higher by $5.26 billion, so the reported value of residential construction put in place in April is $6.15 billion higher than that reported last month. Residential construction spending in April was reported to be up 8.0 percent year-over-year.

Multifamily construction spending higher before revision

The value of new private construction of multifamily residential buildings put in place in April was reported to be $132.1 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis. This was down $392 million from the revised level for March. However, the March figure was revised higher by $1.08 billion, so the preliminary multifamily construction spending figure reported this month is $687 million, or 0.5 percent, higher than the preliminary figure for March reported last month. The reported value of multifamily housing construction put in place in April 2024 was 2.3 percent higher than the level of April 2023.

The first chart shows the difference between the levels of multifamily construction put in place reported last month and the levels reported this month. As stated above, the revisions to last month’s data are larger than the month-over-month change reported this month. In addition, the revision to February’s reported level of construction put in place of $605 million makes that month an upward blip in a downward trend.

multifamily construction spending

For reference, the Census Bureau’s New Residential Construction report said the number of unit completions in April in buildings with 5 or more units fell 1.1 percent from the level of the month before. Completions were 18.1 percent higher than their year-earlier level.

The value of new single-family residential construction put in place in April was $439.2 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis. This was up $300 million from the revised (+$1.90 billion) level for March and was up 20.4 percent from the level of April 2023.

The value of improvements to residential buildings put in place in April was reported to be $319.2 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis. This was up $984 billion from the revised (+$2.28 billion) level for March but was down $11.6 billion from the year-earlier level. The Census Bureau does not separate out improvements for single-family and multifamily residential buildings.

Governments were reported to have put $11.85 billion in residential construction in place in April on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis.

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.

residential construction spending, single-family construction spending and multifamily construction spending

The chart shows that the value of multifamily residential construction put in place continued the downward trend it has been following for the last 8 months. It is now at its lowest level since May 2023. The dip in the value of new single-family residential construction put in place which had been reported last month was eliminated by data revisions in this month’s report. Single-family residential construction spending has now been rising non-stop for a year. The value of improvements put in place was up this month but has been trending lower since May 2023.

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