Building permits up 10% in January
By Jenny LescohierMarch 18, 2021
Signs of optimism for construction are showing as spending on U.S. construction projects rose 1.7% in January while applications for building permits jumped 10.4%.
Spending on residential construction rose 2.5% in January, with single-family home projects up 3%, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported.
Despite an economy that’s been battered for nearly a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, historically low interest rates and city dwellers seeking more space in the suburbs and beyond has boosted home sales. The Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes jumped 4.3% in January, and are 19.3% higher than they were last year at this time.
In a separate report, the government reported that applications for building permits, which typically signal activity ahead, spiked 10.4% in January.
Spending on government projects, which has been constrained by tight state and local budgets in the wake of the pandemic, rose 1.7%.
Nonresidential construction was up 0.4% after months of declines, but is still down 10% from January of last year. The category that accounts for hotels also ticked up 0.7% but is still down a whopping 22.7% from the same time last year as the travel and leisure sector has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
Total spending on construction in January was $1.52 billion, 5.8% higher than January 2020.