Dodge Data & Analytics predicts U.S. construction starts for 2015 will expand 9 percent to $612 billion, a larger gain than the 5 percent increase to $564 billion estimated for 2014. In the nonresidential sector alone, Dodge forecasts a 12 percent rise in construction starts.

In the improving national economy, financing for construction projects is becoming more available while bank lending standards have eased, investors are again focusing on real estate development, and more construction bond measures are getting passed. Although federal funding is still constrained, state budget measures will pick up the slack to support several public projects. In
addition, interest rates will remain low next year, according to Robert Murray, chief economist and vice president for Dodge Data & Analytics.

The commercial building sector will lead the boost in construction activity with an increase of 15 percent, followed by institutional and multifamily housing with an increase of 9 percent, and public works construction with an increase of 5 percent. Health care facilities are expected to show some improvement relative to diminished activity in 2014.

Single-family housing construction starts will increase 15 percent as access to home mortgage loans expands. Manufacturing plant construction will settle back 16 percent, following the major increases reported during both 2013 (up 42 percent) and 2014 (up 57 percent) that reflected the start of massive chemical and energy-related projects.