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First Half Results for Commercial/Multifamily Starts
Most of Top 10 Markets Down, Nine of Next 10 Up


The only first half decrease in commercial and multifamily starts in the markets ranked 11 through 20 was in Denver, which was down 16 percent from a year ago.

Adding up the first six months of 2017, eight of the top 10 markets showed less activity than last year in commercial and multifamily construction starts - this according to Dodge Data & Analytics.

However, the markets ranked 11 through 20 showed increased activity for nine of them; proof these areas are picking up some slack from the big boys, which have led the commercial and multifamily recovery over the past several years.

In the nation as a whole, the numbers dropped 9 percent from last year, but still registered a 1 percent gain over the same period in 2015.

In the individual metropolitan areas, the leader in commercial and multifamily starts was once again New York City, which was down 22 percent from a year ago. Other metropolitan areas in the top ten posting double-digit decreases in the first half of 2017 were Los Angeles, 15 percent; Dallas-Ft. Worth, 29 percent; Boston, 27 percent; and Seattle, 23 percent. Miami fell only 5 percent, and Chicago and Washington, D.C., were off a mere 1 percent. The two metropolitan areas in the top ten that registered gains in the first half of the year were San Francisco, 48 percent; and Atlanta, 19 percent.

For the markets ranked 11 through 20, listed in order by the volume of activity in the first half of 2017, Houston was up 2 percent; Philadelphia rose 23 percent; San Jose gained 49 percent; Austin improved 14 percent; Baltimore shot up 46 percent; Charlotte was even higher at 58 percent; Orlando rose 28 percent; Sacramento recorded an unbelievable 659 percent rise; and San Antonio increased 5 percent. The only decline reported was for Denver, down 16 percent from a year ago.

The national 9 percent decline in the first half was due entirely to multifamily housing starts, down 18 percent, since commercial building held steady year over year.

"Multifamily housing served as the leading edge of the current construction expansion, and increasingly it looks like it reached its peak in 2016," stated Robert A. Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics. "Although it's true that lenders are exercising greater caution towards multifamily projects, more construction is taking place in those markets which have been relative latecomers to the expansion, and this is helping to limit the extent of the multifamily slowdown now underway at the national level."

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July 21, 2019, 1:15 pm PDT

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