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U.S. construction solid and stable in Q3 of 2016; Presidential election seen as influence on industry for 2017

Rider Levett Bucknall’s Third Quarter 2016 USA Construction Cost Report puts the complete spectrum of construction sectors and markets in perspective as it assesses the current state of the industry.

October 28, 2016 |

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In its latest quarterly survey of U.S. construction costs, international property and construction cost-consultant firm Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) reports that construction spending in the United States is on track to increase approximately 6% in 2016. Overall, the national average increase in construction costs for the quarter was approximately 1.5%.

Julian Anderson, President of RLB North America, said, “In our new report, we see continued positive news for the health of the construction industry, a slight uptick in the rate cost escalation, and a sharp decrease in the rate of construction unemployment. Looking ahead, barring a Democratic sweep of the Presidency and Congress, we do not see any big, near-term changes in either private- sector or public-sector construction activity.”

While current spending is falling short of the 20% growth seen by select segments of the industry in 2015, the outlook for the construction field as a whole is reasonably favorable. Continued low interest rates, rising consumer confidence, and healthy job growth also contribute to the guarded optimism.

Going forward, RLB sees a 5% expansion in construction spending for 2017. Based on a recent consensus forecast by the Urban Land Institute, the firm notes that past gains in activity may start to slow, suggesting the latter stages of a real estate cycle. National economic growth has been slower than previously anticipated, in part due to increasing national and international vulnerabilities. Combined with weakened domestic manufacturing output and investor uncertainty pending the results of the U.S. presidential election, these conditions may begin to create downward pressure on the construction industry in 2017.


About the Rider Levett Bucknall Quarterly Construction Cost Report

Rider Levett Bucknall reports on the comparative costs of construction in 12 U.S. cities on a quarterly basis, indexing them to show how costs are changing in each city, as well as against the costs of the other 11 locations. Together with additional international and national cost compendia, the cost research equips clients with complete and relevant information to assist in business decisions. 

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