As the industry enters a more mature phase of its expansion, the 2017 Dodge Construction Outlook
forecasts total U.S. construction starts will advance 5 percent to $713 billion, following gains of 11 percent in 2015 and an estimated 1 percent in 2016.
Commercial building will increase 6 percent on top of the 12 percent gain estimated for 2016. Office construction is bouncing back from very low levels, with a 10 percent gain in square footage forecast for 2017. The hotel sector is beginning to settle down after strong growth in 2016, with a 1 percent decrease in square footage expected next year. Store construction should show some improvement (up 5 percent) from a very subdued 2016, and warehouses will register further growth (up 2 percent).
Institutional building will advance 10 percent, resuming its expansion after pausing in 2015 and 2016. The education sector is poised for 9 percent growth, largely tied to K-12 school bond measures, and health care square footage should increase about 5 percent.
Manufacturing plant construction will increase 6 percent, marking a recovery after steep declines in 2015 and 2016. Electric utilities and gas plants will fall another 29 percent after a 26 percent decline in 2016. Public works construction and highways/bridges will improve 6 percent and 5 percent, respectively, while natural gas and oil pipeline projects are expected to stay close to the volume present in 2016.
Multifamily housing will be flat in dollars and down 2 percent in units, while single-family housing will rise 12 percent in dollars, corresponding to a 9 percent increase in units.