As we reported recently, the volume of new construction contracts in the Southeast region got off to a great start in January, with McGraw-Hill Construction reporting increases in the value of new projects of between 20% and 35% for the four-state region. The nonresidential sector, which has lagged over the past few years, was particularly strong.
While those numbers seemed to bode well for future construction, McGraw-Hill's data for February served as a reminder that the industry is not back to boom times, by a long shot, as three of the four states experienced declines.
That said, the company's reports for some of the Southeast's major metros remained mostly positive, and in some cases, exceedingly so. Here's a breakdown of the latest figures for both all four states, and some of the biggest metro areas. All figures are for February 2013, compared to February 2012.
  • Florida: -22%, for nearly $2.5 billion in new contracts;
  • Georgia: +6%, for a roughly $976.2 million total;
  • North Carolina: -3%, with $1.1 billion in new projects;
  • South Carolina: -25%, to $550.3 million;
  • Atlanta: +53%, with nearly $574.5 million in new contracts;
  • Miami: +1%, for $369.2 million;
  • Orlando: +60%, for a $290.6-million total;
  • Tampa: +38%, to nearly $252.3 million; and,
  • Charlotte: +4%, for $251.4 million in new contracts
First, a few notes of explanation. McGraw-Hill Construction's metro reports only indicate figures for the two building markets, nonresidential and residential, whereas the state reports include data for the nonbuilding/infrastructure sector.
Additionally, three of the four Southeast states experienced declines in the nonbuilding category. Florida, for instance, saw its nonbuilding contracts total drop 72% compared to last February, tallying nearly $484.3 million for the latest month. And South Carolina experienced a 52% drop in infrastructure work in February.
Though it's still early in 2013, Atlanta's totals through February are well ahead of the other metros. In February, for instance, McGraw-Hill Construction reported that Atlanta recorded roughly $267 million in new nonresidential contracts, or 58% better than the same period of a year ago. Residential posted a 48% gain, generating another $307.5 million in new work.
For the year-to-date, Atlanta's nonresidential market has generated nearly $501.8 million in new contracts, or 71% better than the first two months of 2012. Residential, meanwhile, has produced another $550.2 million in new work, for a roughly 59% improvement over last year.
All of which begs the question: Is Atlanta's building market finally waking up after several years of slumber?
Only time will tell. And we'll keep you posted.
What are your thoughts? Are the building markets getting more active in the areas where your firm works? We encourage you to share your perspective!