New construction starts rose 10 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $604.1 billion, according to McGraw Hill Construction. The increase followed an up-and-down pattern during the previous two months, and brought activity to its highest level so far during 2014.
Nonbuilding construction saw a 38 percent increase at $162.9 billion with the electric utility category going up 107 percent, public works project types advancing 26 percent and river/harbor development rising 40 percent. Highways and bridge construction starts rose eight percent. Of the public works category, water supply construction was the only section to lose momentum, falling 27 percent.
Nonresidential building saw a big gain as well, increasing 15 percent to $228.5 billion. The institutional building group rose 33 percent, while transportation terminal work was up 171 percent. Educational facilities climbed 34 percent, healthcare facilities fell 44 percent and the manufacturing plant category rose 105 percent.
Residential building suffered a decrease of nine percent to $212.7 billion. This was mostly the result of a 23 percent decrease in multifamily housing and a three percent decrease in single family housing.
The first nine months of 2014 has seen a five percent gain for total construction. Since the start of the year, nonresidential building has climbed a total of 17 percent, residential building has increased six percent and nonbuilding construction decreased nine percent.
Altogether, total construction starts thus far this year have seen gains for the South Central, South Atlantic, Northeast, Midwest and West regions.