View of Jersey City, N.J., from Manhattan
Francois Roux/ View of Jersey City, N.J., from Manhattan

Half of the top 10 metropolitan markets for commercial and multifamily construction starts showed increased activity during the first six months of this year compared with a year ago, says Dodge Data & Analytics, while the other five metros registered decreases.

At the national level, the volume of starts during the first half of 2018 was $101.4 billion, down 1% from last year’s first half and 2% above what was reported for the first half of 2016.

The New York City metro held on to its top ranking, with $16.1 billion, constituting 16% of the U.S. commercial and multifamily total, helped by a 44% increase. The other top 10 markets showing growth during the first half of 2018 were Washington, D.C., with $5 billion, up 23%; Miami, with $4.9 billion, up 34%; Boston, with $3.7 billion, up 56%; and Seattle, at $3.2 billion, up 7%.

Dodge Data & Analytics

On the other hand, five markets are showing decreased activity in commercial and multifamily construction starts, including Dallas, with $3.4 billion, down 23%; Los Angeles, at $2.9 billion, down 38%; San Francisco, with $2.8 billion, down 38%; Chicago, at $2.7 billion, down 37%; and Atlanta, with $2 billion, down 43%.

“Multifamily housing has proven to be surprisingly resilient so far during 2018, following its 8% decline in dollar terms at the U.S. level that was reported for the full year 2017,” says Robert A. Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics. “With apartment vacancy rates beginning to edge upward on a year-over-year basis, banks had been taking a more cautious stance towards lending for multifamily projects.”

Additionally, six of the markets ranked between 11 and 20 registered gains for the first half: Austin, Texas; Kansas City, Mo.; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix; Minneapolis; and Portland, Ore. The remaining four posted decreases: Houston, Philadelphia, Denver, and San Jose, Calif.