Florida’s construction contract activity in December was a microcosm of the state’s overall year, as nonresidential and nonbuilding markets declined significantly, and residential picked up the pace, according to the latest information from McGraw-Hill Construction.

For the latest month, McGraw-Hill Construction estimated the value of Florida’s nonresidential contracts at about $299.1 million, or 42% lower than the same period of a year ago. The nonbuilding market, which includes infrastructure contracts, tallied $226.1 million, or about 20% lower than a year ago.

Residential contracts improved, however. The company estimated new housing projects at more than $778.1 million for the month, or 19% better than a year ago.

For 2011 as a whole, the pattern was similar. Nonresidential ended up the year 17% worse than 2010, with nearly $5.8 billion in new contracts started during 2011. Nonbuilding contracts totaled nearly $6.9 billion, or 24% behind last year’s tally. McGraw-Hill Construction estimated the residential sector’s 2011 total at nearly $9.6 billion, or 10% better than 2010.

Overall, Florida experienced approximately $22.2 billion in new contracts during 2011. That’s roughly 10% behind the 2010 total of $24.6 billion.