McGraw-Hill Construction, publisher of Southeast Construction, reported that the value of new Florida contracts signed in July for future construction declined by 22% overall, compared to the same period of a year ago. The total of all new contracts was roughly $2.3 billion, compared to last July�s $3 billion.

After several months of huge gains, the nonbuilding sector dropped 41% in July, compared to a year ago, for a total of about $405.5 million. The residential market also declined significantly, by 36%, to total $782.7 million for the month. The nonresidential sector improved by 7%, however, experiencing more than $1.1 billion in new contracts.

For the year-to-date, Florida’s overall total for new contracts of nearly $15.7 billion is 25% behind 2008’s pace. So far, nonbuilding is 37% ahead of last year, with nearly $5.5 billion in new contracts. Nonresidential, which totals roughly $5.9 billion through July, is 33% behind '08. Residential is still the smallest market on a year-to-date basis. Its $4.3-billion total is 47% behind last year's pace.