New York Leads the Way in Commercial, Multifamily Construction Starts

Commercial and multifamily construction starts in the country’s top 20 metro areas are up 12% over 2020 figures, according to new research from Dodge Data & Analytics, with New York emerging as the top market for starts through the first half of this year.

Nationally, commercial and multifamily construction starts were 10% higher on a year-to-date basis through the first six months of the year, clocking in at $108.5 billion, and in the second largest group of metro areas, starts improved 11% YTD. Only three metro areas in the top 10 (Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Austin) and three in the next group (Phoenix, Houston, and Chicago), lost ground.

New York commercial and multifamily starts totaled $12.6 billion, an 8% increase over the first half of last year, followed by Dallas and Washington, D.C. Starts in the top 10 metro areas accounted for 40% of all activity in the US, the same share as in the first half of last year.

In the second largest group of metros, San Diego emerged as a clear frontrunner, up 171% year-over-year at $2.2 billion. The second largest group of metros accounted for 18% of all commercial and multifamily starts in the US.

Nationally, 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, according to Dodge. 

“The recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has begun but is very uneven,” stated Richard Branch, Chief Economist for 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.”

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