Construction rebound in 2011 pegged at 8 percent

Source: McGraw-Hill Construction, New York

McGraw-Hill Construction’s 2011 Construction Outlook forecasts an 8 percent increase in overall U.S. construction starts for next year, advancing to $445.5 billion on the heels of a 2 percent decline predicted for 2010. Addressing nearly 400 attendees at the 72nd annual Outlook 2011 Executive Conference, McGraw-Hill Construction Vice President of Economic Affairs Robert Murray said, “While the economy is still facing headwinds, the stage is being set for construction to see modest improvement in 2011 from this year’s very weak activity…2011 will be the first year of renewed growth for overall construction activity, as 2010 becomes the final year of a very lengthy and unusual construction cycle.”

Among highlights of the 2011 Construction Outlook:

  • Single-family housing dollar investments will climb 27 percent, attending a 25 percent increase in unit totals to 565,000.
  • Multifamily housing will rise 24 percent in dollars and 23 percent in units, continuing to move gradually upward.
  • Commercial buildings will increase 16 percent, following a three-year decline that saw a 62 percent drop contracting dollars. Expected activity levels for stores, warehouses, offices and hotels in 2011 will remain weak by historical standards.
  • The institutional building market will slip an additional 1 percent in 2011, retreating for the third straight year. While state and local fiscal constraints will continue to dampen school construction, the healthcare facilities sector should see moderate growth.
  • Manufacturing buildings will increase 9 percent in dollars and 11 percent in square feet.
  • Public works construction will drop 1 percent, concurrent with fading federal stimulus benefits for highway and bridge construction.
  • Electric utility work will slide 10 percent, falling for the third year in a row.

In addition, industry experts delivered forecasts for green building, residential building, building product manufacturers, building materials, technology, and the economy overall. Camilli Economics President Kathleen Camilli affirms, “Notwithstanding the financial crisis’ impact on residential and nonresidential construction, growth in this sector of the economy will continue to be driven by innovation in building technologies.” More information on the 2011 Outlook is available at