Value of commercial and multifamily starts increases in first half of 2021 – study

New data also reveals which metro area was the top market for starts

Value of commercial and multifamily starts increases in first half of 2021 – study

The value of commercial and multifamily starts across the US increased by 10% to $108.5 billion during the first six months of 2021 relative to the first half of 2020, according to new figures from research firm Dodge Data & Analytics.

Broken down, commercial starts were up 3% to $56.1 billion, while multifamily starts were 19% higher at $52.4 billion on a year-to-date basis.

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And in the top 10 metro areas, commercial and multifamily construction starts were up 12% to $43.9 billion through six months, with only three metro areas – Washington DC, Los Angeles, Calif., and Austin, Texas – posting declines.

Data showed that the New York metropolitan area was the top market for commercial and multifamily starts through six months at $12.6 billion, an 8% increase from the first half of 2020.

Meanwhile, the Dallas metropolitan area was in second place for commercial and multifamily starts, totaling $4.5 billion through six months, a 12% gain over 2020. The Washington DC metro area was ranked third through six months but lost 7% to $4.3 billion.

The remaining top 10 metropolitan areas through the first half of 2021 were Boston, Mass., which was up 34% ($4.0 billion); Miami, Fla., up 26% ($3.5 billion); Los Angeles, Calif., down 22% ($3.4 billion); Philadelphia, Pa., up 86% ($3.3 billion); Seattle, Wash., up 61% ($3.2 billion); Atlanta, Ga., up 2% ($2.5 billion); and Austin, Texas, down less than one percentage point ($2.5 billion).

Overall, the top 10 metropolitan areas accounted for 40% of all commercial and multifamily starts in the United States – the same share as in the first six months of 2020.

“The recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has begun but is very uneven,” said Richard Branch, chief economist at Dodge Data & Analytics. “Commercial construction has been buoyed by strength in the warehouse sector as large e-commerce companies build out their logistics infrastructure while office, retail, and hotel activity is subdued. Multifamily starts, meanwhile, have rebounded solidly following a weak 2020. The dollar value of commercial and multifamily starts should continue to improve over the coming six months; however, growth will remain muted due to high material prices and a shortage of skilled labor in the construction sector.”