AIA Projects Slight Increase in Nonresidential Construction Spending in 2012; Substantial Growth for 2013
January 25, 2012

Despite the lingering effects of an over-built housing market, the continued difficulty to obtain financing for real estate projects, budget shortfalls at state and municipal governments and the anxiety surrounding the prolonged European debt crisis, there are signs that the U.S. design and construction industry will be improving, according to a January 25 news release from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) of Washington, D.C. Corporate profits have returned to pre-recession levels and businesses have subsequently been increasing their capital spending, borrowing costs are at record low levels and pent up demand for commercial and retail projects factors into what projects to be a 2.1 percent rise in spending this year for nonresidential construction projects. The AIA semi-annual Consensus Construction Forecast, a survey of the nation's construction forecasters, also projects a 6.4 percent increase of spending in 2013.

"Spending on hotels, industrial plants and commercial properties are going to set the pace for the construction industry over the next two years," says Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist, in the release. "The institutional market won't experience the same growth, but healthcare facilities and places of worship are poised for a positive economic outlook in that sector."

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Remarking on what could derail a positive turnaround, Baker adds, "We are concerned that the unusually high energy costs, given the overall weakness in the economy, might trigger a jolt in inflation and hamstring economic recovery. The housing market also needs prices to stabilize and to resolve the high number of delinquencies and foreclosures before it can fully recover," according to the release.

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