South Florida construction starts show short-term recovery in July

Construction starts rose 23% compared to June, but fell 76% year-over-year

695 Olive Avenue, West Palm, and a rendering of Canopy Park at 500 Alton (Credit: Google Maps)
695 Olive Avenue, West Palm, and a rendering of Canopy Park at 500 Alton (Credit: Google Maps)

South Florida construction starts showed a monthly recovery in July, but were still a far cry from life before Covid-19, according to a recently released report.

In July, total construction starts for Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties totaled $619.1 million, according to Dodge Data & Analytics, a Hamilton, New Jersey-based commercial construction project data analytics firm.

That’s about 23 percent higher, month-over-month, but a 76 percent drop from July 2019.

Nonresidential construction — which includes office, industrial, government and other related buildings — amounted to $322.6 million in July, a 35 percent increase from June, and an 82 percent drop, year-over-year.

July’s residential construction starts — including single-family and multifamily buildings — totaled $296.5 million, a 12 percent increase from June and a 62 percent drop, year-over-year, according to the report.

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Total monthly construction starts for July were higher than those reported for May and for March, but lagged behind April’s $684.4 million total.

Year to date, total construction starts in South Florida dropped 35 percent, year-over-year, to $5.3 billion, according to Dodge’s data. Nonresidential again saw the larger drop, decreasing 47 percent to $2.2 billion. Residential dropped 23 percent to $3.1 billion.

South Florida isn’t alone in Covid-19-caused construction woes. The coronavirus crisis has sent residential construction in Chicago cratering as developers have held off on breaking ground. The latest federal numbers show that homebuilders are planning more construction than expected, but actual construction is lagging.

In South Florida, some projects are starting construction. Transwestern Development Co. announced in July that it broke ground on the 217-unit Boutique West Palm at 695 Olive Avenue. Mr. C Residences in Coconut Grove also broke ground in July.

Write to Wade Tyler Millward at