The Dodge Momentum Index rose to 125.3 (2000=100) in July, up 5.4 percent from its June reading of 118.9 according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year.
The economic doldrums of the first half of 2015 were accompanied by a saw tooth pattern for the Index, and July’s increase returns the Index to its generally rising trend over the past four years. Improving real estate market fundamentals in the commercial sector and increased bond-related funding for institutional projects should continue to exert a positive influence over the Index through the remainder of 2015. The increase in July relative to June was led by strong gains for both institutional planning, up 6.0 percent, and commercial planning, up 4.9 percent.
There were a total of 13 projects entering planning in July with a value that exceeded $100 million – seven commercial projects and six institutional projects. In the commercial building sector, a $200 million WalMart distribution center in Davenport, Fla., entered planning as did a $200 million office building on Sixth St NW in Washington, D.C.
Within the institutional building sector, a $350 million expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center entered planning as did the $188 million Mount Si High School remodel and expansion project in Snoqualmie, Wash.