A double-digit percentage decline in the value of new April contracts wasn�t enough to diminish the overall start to 2010 that North Carolina has experienced in the first third of the year.

According to McGraw-Hill Construction, publisher of Southeast Construction, the overall value of new North Carolina construction contracts signed in April for future construction fell by 17%, compared to the same period of a year ago. Even so, North Carolina�s contracts total remains 30% ahead for the year-to-date.

In April, the value of the nonbuilding category�which includes infrastructure projects fueled by federal stimulus funding�dropped by 9% to tally $139.1 million for the month. The biggest decline was in the nonresidential market, however, which fell 42% for a $432.2-million total. The residential sector increased by 30% for a total of $570.2 million.

For the first four months of the year, North Carolina�s contract activity is 30% ahead of 2009�s pace, with $5.2 billion in new projects. The nonbuilding sector�s total of $1.3 billion is more than double that of a year ago. Residential starts are 40% ahead of �09, with more than $2.2 billion in new contracts. The value of nonresidential projects is off by 10%, however, with $1.7 billion in new contracts through the first four months of the year.