Construction + Economy

Construction + Economy

Kunstler on the “Tragedy of Suburbia”

In James Howard Kunstler’s view, public spaces should be inspired centers of civic life and the physical manifestation of the common good. Instead, he argues in this Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) Talk, what we have in America is a nation of places not worth caring about.

Construction + Economy

Single-Family Housing Starts Hold Steady in March

More evidence that the housing market may be bottoming out, although the continuing credit crunch and a decline in permits are worrisome for future growth. Characteristic volatility in the multifamily sector pushed nationwide housing starts down 10.8% in March as production of single-family homes remained unchanged, according to the Department of Commerce. Overall starts fell [...]

Construction + Economy

Inventory of New Homes Continues Shrinking in March

The number of newly built, single-family homes on the market declined for a 23rd consecutive month in March as builders focused on winnowing down their inventories of unsold units, according to the Department of Commerce. Inventory shrank to 311,000 units, which is a 10.7-month supply at the current sales pace. Further, new home sales in [...]

Construction + Economy

Home Builder Confidence Posts Biggest Gain in Five Years

Is the market at or near bottom? Good news is always welcome these days. While still deep in negative territory, builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose five points in April to the highest level since October 2008, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index [...]

Construction + Economy

Architecture Billings Index Shows Early Signs of Improving Business Conditions

Finally, some good news. After a series of historic lows, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) was up more than eight points in March. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate 9-12 month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. AIA reported the March ABI rating was 43.7, up [...]

Construction + Economy

Construction Spending Falls 10% Below Last Year in February

Construction spending during February 2009 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $967.5 billion, 0.9% below the revised January estimate of $976.2 billion and 10% percent below the February 2008 estimate of $1,075.3 billion. During the first two months of this year, construction spending amounted to $135.5 billion, 10.9% below the $152 billion [...]

Construction + Economy

Architecture Billings Index Continues to Point to Difficult Conditions

Following another historic low score in January, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) was up two points in February, but still pointing to a general lack of demand for design services. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate 9- to 12-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The [...]

Construction + Economy

Construction Market Forecast: Nonresidential Construction Will Plummet, Begin 3+ Years of Contraction

Construction industry management consulting and investment banking firm FMI has released its Construction Outlook: First Quarter 2009 Report, available free online as a PDF document here. The outlook forecasts nonresidential construction will plummet and begin at least three years of contraction. The bottom, in terms of both dollar volume and percent decline, will not be [...]

Construction + Economy

Sustainable Design a Fad?

I think that notion is being put to rest. In fact, green construction is expected to be a bright spot in the overall construction market during the current downturn and beyond. Consider: * According to Turner Construction’s 2008 Green Building Market Barometer survey of 754 commercial real estate executives, significant percentages of respondents view green [...]

Construction + Economy

LEED 2009 is Coming Soon

LEED 2009 (LEED 3.0) is coming April 27. The new version of the LEED rating system will incorporate all of the rating systems that address commercial buildings–New Construction, Commercial Interiors, Schools and Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance–into three LEED 2009 systems: * Green Building Design & Construction * Green Interior Design & Construction * Green [...]

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