Residential construction picks up for SoFla in January

Construction cranes
Construction cranes

South Florida residential developers were hesitant to open their checkbooks for construction contracts at the end of 2015, but a newly released report shows spending on such contracts has picked up again in January.

Roughly $587.6 million was spent on residential construction contracts during the first month of 2016, according to a newly released report from industry research firm Dodge Data & Analytics. That’s a 13 percent jump compared to January 2015, though it’s about $96 million short of what was spent in December.

Residential development took a hit during the final months of 2015. Sales of houses and condos dipped as the local market felt shock waves from global factors like volatile stock markets and cheap oil.

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But in January, non-residential construction was the sector that suffered. Contracts for everything from hotels to government offices reached $262.3 million, a 24 percent reduction year-over-year.

That dip in non-residential contracts means total construction spending for January fell by 1 percent year-over-year, standing at just under $850 million.

Despite the short-term fluctuations at the end of 2015, South Florida developers spent more on construction last year than anywhere else in the nation. Roughly $10.335 billion was spent on building projects in 2015, an increase of about 3 percent year-over-year. The region was set to post even bigger gains over 2014 if not for financial turbulence in 2015’s final months.