South Florida construction spending slows at end of 2015

Construction cranes
Construction cranes

South Florida contractors received many fewer checks in the mail by the end of 2015, closing out a year that began with a veritable building boom.

Developers sank $10.335 billion into construction contracts by the end of December — a 3 percent increase from the total $10.036 billion spent in 2014, according to a new report from Dodge Data & Analytics.

The region was on track to outpace 2014 spending in a big way during the first half of 2015, but slowing residential sales in the fall and winter months hamstrung construction.

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On a year-over-year basis, some months reported as much as 60 percent reductions in the amount of money flowing into residential building contracts.

Non-residential contracts — everything from hotels to government buildings — mostly held steady or rose during the final months of 2015. But the majority of South Florida’s development dollars flowed to single-family homes, apartments and condos, so spending in the market’s non-residential sector wasn’t enough to pull up the year’s total.

December was the final footnote: $614 million worth of residential contracts were signed that month, a 5 percent drop compared to 2014. Meanwhile, non-residential contracts hit nearly $739 million — swelling by 11 percent year-over-year. — Sean Stewart-Muniz