McGraw-Hill Construction sees uneven recovery

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In its updated 2012 construction market forecast released on July 18, McGraw-Hill Construction sees an uneven recovery. MHC predicts a stronger-than-expected rebound in the housing market and a modest uptick in the private non-residential building market, dampened by continued weakness in the public building and non-building markets. MHC now expects total new construction starts to increase 2.5% in 2012, after an anemic 0.3% gain last year.

The biggest percentage boost comes from housing, which is rebounding from historic lows. Single-family housing is expected to increase 21% in dollar value this year, while multifamily housing will rise 19%. The dollar value of private nonresidential building is set to increase 2% by year-end.

Double-digit gains predicted in construction starts for retail, hotels and other commercial sectors are being mostly offset by a 20% decline in manufacturing work and a 2% decline in office-building construction. MHC predicts the institutional building market will decline 10% this year. In the heavy civil engineering sector, the highway and bridge market will decline 12% and environmental work will drop 9%, leaving the overall non-building market 4% below 2011’s total.

This year “is shaping up to be more of the same, characterized by a mix of pluses and minuses for major sectors, leaving the overall amount of construction starts basically unchanged,” says MHC’s chief economist, Robert Murray.  Read More.

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