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First Cut: October construction spending down in October in most categories except single-family homes

The dollar value of construction put in place declined 0.8% in October from September, contrary to market expectations for a mild increase. It is possible that although construction — particularly residential — remained active, it was for smaller, less pricey projects. However, compared to last year when mortgage rates were significantly higher, the value of new construction was up 1.1%.

The dollar value of residential construction was down 0.9% month-over-month in November. Nonresidential construction was 0.7% lower. Private residential construction was off 0.9% overall, but single-family construction was up 1.6%. This did not offset the decline in Multifamily construction of 1.6%. The calculation for the dollar value of home improvements was down 4.5%, perhaps reflecting that homeowners are more inclined to sell out and/or buy up rather than invest in a current property.

Private nonresidential building was down 1.2% due to the sluggishness in business investment in commercial real estate.

Spending on public construction was only down a slight 0.2%.

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