Economy Watch: Number of Planned CRE Projects Jumped in April

Twelve projects each with a value of $100 million or more entered planning in April, up from six projects in March, according to the latest Dodge Data & Analytics report.
Source: Dodge Data & Analytics Dodge Momentum Index, April 2018

The Dodge Momentum Index jumped 6.1 percent in April to 163.0 (2000 = 100) from the revised March reading of 153.7, Dodge Data & Analytics reported on Monday. The index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for U.S. nonresidential building projects in planning, which generally lead construction spending for such buildings by a year.

Both components of the Momentum Index moved higher in April, with the commercial component up 6.3 percent and the institutional component up 5.8 percent. Over the last two months, the commercial portion of the index has seen the most aggressive growth, according to Dodge, fueled by continued low vacancy rates for commercial buildings, as well as the potential benefits from the tax cuts passed in December.

The gains for the institutional component, while healthy, have been more moderate. That reflects the ebb and flow of public funding for larger education and public building projects, the company noted.

In April, 12 projects each with a value of $100 million or more entered planning nationwide. The two leading commercial projects were office buildings: a $200 million building in Boston and a $175 million building in Atlanta. The leading institutional projects were a $100 million hospital in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and a $100 million training center in Pelham, Ala.