Construction momentum slowed to start the year according to a key industry index. The Dodge Momentum Index dropped 5.1% in January to 143.7 (2000=100) from the revised December reading of 151.5. The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.
The commercial component of the Momentum Index was 7.8% lower in the month, while the institutional component was down 0.9%. The fourth quarter of 2017 was particularly strong for the Momentum Index, and January’s retreat returns it to a more sustainable level. On a year-over-year basis, the Momentum Index is 7.7% higher, with both the commercial and institutional components showing growth over January 2017. This suggests that nonresidential building construction should continue to post moderate gains in 2018.
In January, five projects each with a value of $100 million or more entered planning. For the commercial sector, the leading projects were a $200 million office building in Boston MA and a $152 million warehouse in Banning CA. The leading institutional projects were a $440 million water park in Branson MO and a $123 million assisted living facility in Milwaukee WI.