Future construction picture remains spotty overall in N.H.

Residential rebounds, but infrastructure work is down big

After a disappointing August, when numbers for future construction in New Hampshire were down across the board, two building sectors rebounded in September.

According to data released by industry information service McGraw Hill Construction, New Hampshire’s residential sector in particular showed an impressive gain in contracts for future building, up 57 percent, to $64.5 million, from the $41 million reported in September 2012. Residential building, which during the depths of the recession was barely visible, is now the mainstay of the state’s construction industry. For the year through September, future residential contracts have risen 24 percent over last year.

Also gaining in September were nonresidential contracts, which rose 3 percent, to $25.5 million from last year’s $24.8 million. But for the year so far, nonresidential building has been stagnant, dropping 2 percent, to $362.7 million from the previous year’s $371.4 million.

The value of future nonbuilding contracts, which are for projects such as roads, bridges and other infrastructure, continued to fall in September, dropping 63 percent, to $23.2 million from the previous September’s $63.3 million. For the year through September, future nonbuilding contracts are down a staggering 65 percent from last year at this time – from $542.6 million a year ago to $192.6 million in 2013.

The severe drop in nonbuilding activity is most responsible for pushing total construction down for the year. Through September, reported future building contracts have totaled some $1 billion, down 21 percent from the $1.27 billion reported for the same period last year.

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