Following a dip in April, the Dodge Momentum Index advanced 4.0 percent in May to 139.1, up from the April reading, which was revised down to 133.7. The index, created by Dodge Data & Analytics, is a monthly measure of the initial report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.
In May, the commercial component of the Momentum Index increased 4.8 percent to an eight-and-a-half year high, which suggests that construction activity for commercial buildings will continue to rise over the next year, even with signs of decelerating improvement in market fundamentals (occupancies and rents).
The institutional component of the Momentum Index rose 2.9 percent in May, a partial rebound from the 12.0 percent decline in April. During this year’s first quarter, the institutional component had reestablished its often hesitant upward trend, with March up 21 percent compared with the end of 2016. May’s moderate gain, following the April retreat, provides evidence that the upward trend for the institutional sector continues.
In May, six projects with a value of at least $100 million entered planning. For the commercial building sector, the leading projects were the $245 million Camden Partners office tower in Camden, New Jersey, and the $140 million first phase of the Gateway of the Pacific office complex in San Francisco. The leading institutional building project was a $100 million detention center in Conroe, Texas.