- Released yesterday, the Dodge Data & Analytics 2021 Construction Outlook predicts that total U.S. construction starts will increase by 4% next year, to $771 billion.
- The COVID-19 pandemic led to a deep drop in construction starts in the first six months of 2020, and the road to recovery “will be long and fraught with potential potholes” Richard Branch, Dodge chief economist, said in a press release. In 2020 so far, construction starts have slipped an estimated 14% to $738 billion.
- Dodge also predicted the dollar value of nonresidential buildings will be up 3%, while nonbuilding construction will improve by 7%.
“Uncertainty surrounding the next wave of COVID-19 infections in the fall and winter and delayed fiscal stimulus will lead to a slow and jagged recovery in 2021,” Branch said in the release. “Business and consumer confidence will improve over the year as further stimulus comes in early 2021 and a vaccine is approved and becomes more widely distributed, but construction markets have been deeply scarred and will take considerable time to fully recover.”
Other predictions from Dodge for construction in 2021 include:
- Multifamily construction will drop 1% while the number of units started will fall 2% to 484,000.
- The dollar value of commercial building starts will increase 5%. Warehouse and data center construction will be strong as e-commerce companies continue to build out their logistics infrastructure.
- Retail and hotel activity will languish.
- In 2021, institutional construction starts will increase by 1% as growing state and local budget deficits impact public building construction. Education construction is expected to see further declines, while healthcare starts are predicted to rise.
- Public works construction starts will see little improvement as 2021 begins due to continued uncertainty surrounding additional federal aid for state and local areas.
- Electric utilities/gas plants will gain 35%, led by expected groundbreakings for several large LNG export facilities and an increasing number of wind farms.
- The dollar value of manufacturing plant construction will remain flat.