New home sales may be down, but that isn’t for a lack of inventory. Residential construction spending was up 16% in the first quarter of 2014, from $65.29 billion in 2013 to $75.73 billion in Q1 2014.
March’s residential construction spending was up over February’s revised number, as the warming weather leads to increased construction projects. In March, there was $27.46 billion spent on construction projects, up from $23.67 billion in February.
The increase in year-over-year spending is coming from the private sector, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Private residential construction was up 16.7% in the first quarter, from $63.98 billion in Q1 2013 to $74.67 billion in 2014.
The rise in spending is a result of both single-family and multifamily construction increasing significantly from last year’s total. March’s seasonally adjusted rate of private single-family construction is up 13.2% from last year, rising from $163.99 billion in 2013 to $185.66 billion this year.
The news is even better for multifamily construction. The seasonally adjusted rate for private multifamily construction is now $39.15 billion, up 32.5% from $29.53 billion last year.
The news isn’t quite so good for public residential construction. Spending on public residential construction was down significantly from last year’s Q1 total. Public residential construction was down from $1.3 billion in 2013 to $1.06 billion this year. That’s a drop of 19.4%.
Overall, private residential construction is now on a seasonally adjusted pace of $369.8 billion, based on March’s figures. That’s up 0.8% from February’s seasonally adjusted rate of $367 billon.
Total construction spending, including residential and nonresidential, ticked up in March to a seasonally adjusted rate of $942.5 billion, up 0.2% from February’s revised figure of $940.8 billion.
That figure is also up 8.4% from March 2013’s figure of $869.16 billion.