Construction spending up 0.2% in March as homebuilding hits highest pace in nearly 6 years

Updated May 2, 2014

home builderU.S. construction spending was up slightly in March due mainly to increases in private residential construction, now at its highest rate in nearly six years.

Total spending rose in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $942.5 billion, up 0.2 percent from the revised February figure of $940.7 billion. Due to the revision of that figure, what was a 0.1-percent increase in February is now a 0.2-percent decrease from January.

Spending in March is up 8.4 percent from March 2013.

After a down month in February, private residential construction spending was up 0.8 percent in March to $370 billion. That’s the strongest pace seen since May 2008.

Apartment construction had the largest spending increase at 4.4 percent to $39.1 billion while single-family home construction was up 0.2 percent to $185.6 billion.

Private nonresidential spending was up 0.2 percent to a rate of $310 billion, led by a 5.3-percent increase in transportation to $13.3 billion, a 1.3-percent increase in educational to $16 billion and an 0.8-percent increase in hotel construction to $16.2 billion.

Government construction spending fell 0.6 percent in March to $263 billion. Government residential projects were down 6.6 percent to $4.7 billion while nonresidential was down 0.5 percent to $258.2 billion.

Overall residential construction spending fell 0.7 percent in March to $374.5 billion. That figure is up 15.2 percent from the previous year.

Overall nonresidential spending rose 0.1 percent to $568.4 billion, up 4.4 percent year-over-year.