The value of new Florida construction contracts eked out a 1% gain in September, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, with new projects totaling roughly $1.7 billion.

For the month, the nonresidential category continued its downward trend, registering a 29% decline compared to the same period of a year ago, with $419.3 million in new contracts. Residential contracts outpaced last September’s total by 27%, however, with an estimated $817.5 million in new projects. The nonbuilding sector, which includes infrastructure work, gained 1% compared to last September, and registered an estimated $493.2 million in new contracts.

On a year-to-date basis, Florida’s 2011 construction contract volume is estimated at nearly $16.9 billion, or 18% lower than 2010’s pace through September.

By percentage, the nonbuilding category has declined the most. Its nearly $5.4-billion total is 33% lower than last year’s pace. The nonresidential category, with just over $4.5 billion in new contracts, is 21% behind last year. The residential sector is now 3% ahead of 2010’s pace, with roughly $7 billion in new contracts so far.