The overall volume of new North Carolina construction contracts fell 31% in July, as just over $1.3 billion worth of projects moved ahead, according to McGraw-Hill Construction.

Photo courtesy N.C. Dept. of Transportation
Lane construction on North Carolina's Interstate 85 is continuing, but nonbuilding contracts are slowing.

The decline was due to weakness in the nonresidential and nonbuilding categories, according to McGraw-Hill. Nonresidential projects generated an estimated $268.2 million in new work in July, representing a 48% drop, compared to the same period of a year ago. The nonbuilding category, which includes infrastructure projects, fell 64% compared to last July, for a $331.1-million total.

There was good news in the residential category, however, as housing contracts surged 49% compared to last July to total $713.6 million.

North Carolina’s overall July decline pushed the state’s year-to-date total into negative territory. Through the first seven months, McGraw-Hill Construction now estimates the state’s 2012 construction contracts at $9 billion, or 2% lower than 2011’s pace.

Nonbuilding is the only negative category to date, however, with its $1.8-billion tally equating to a 41% decline compared to 2011.
Nonresidential’s July nosedive barely avoided pushing this category into negative territory for the year, though. This category’s total for the first seven months, $2.9 billion, is now 1% ahead of last year’s pace.

North Carolina’s residential contracts total stands at $4.4 billion through July, a 29% gain compared to a year ago.