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Monthly Update: Building Activity

March '20
Published on 4/30/20
KEI Building Activity March 2020

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Metro Houston construction starts totaled $18.1 billion in the 12 months ending March ’20, down 13.8 percent from $20.9 billion for the comparable period in ’19, according to the latest data from Dodge Data & Analytics. Nonresidential activity fell 21.1 percent to $7.6 billion, while residential activity decreased 7.5 percent to $10.4 billion. The 12-month total peaked at $30.9 billion in February ’15, the height of the chemical plant construction boom. Year-to-date, construction starts were up 5.6 percent from $4.8 billion in March ’19 to $5.1 billion for the same period in ’20.

Construction starts were up in March ’20, increasing 23.5 percent from $1.5 billion in March ’20 to $1.8 billion in March ’20. Nonresidential and residential construction starts rose by 71.0 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively. 

Construction activity in March ’20 included the groundbreaking of Newton Nurseries. KDW is handling design and construction of the 3.5-acre nursery located in Katy, intended to serve professional landscapers on Houston’s west side. This will be nursery’s second location in Houston and it is expected to open in May.

Construction projects were able to proceed despite the March 24 stay-at-home order as both residential and commercial construction have been classified as essential services. Many construction companies, however, have expressed concerns over possible delays that might be caused by late supply and material deliveries. Although the current projects do not seem to be severely affected by COVID-19 and drastic swings in oil price volatility, a number of new-build construction projects have been on hold. It is unclear whether the delayed projects will be resumed even after the economic turmoil.

Berina Suljic Cologlu
Analyst, Research

Patrick Jankowski, CERP
Senior Vice President, Research


Building Activity Key Economic Indicators
$1.8 billion

Construction starts in Houston totaled $1.8 billion in March '20.

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