With permit data collected for 11 months and most of the bidding follow up done, we’re estimating that the nonresidential contracting for 2015 will be up significantly, from $2.69 billion in 2014 to $3.31 billion for 2015. The biggest chunk in that gain was in heavy industrial projects. Even with a depressed gas price and downsizing in that sector, there were still hundreds of millions spent in processing and infrastructure.
Housing construction came in surprisingly close to the activity in 2014, closer than any year going back to 1995. The total number of dwelling units (new construction only) should come in right around 5,000, with more than half of those being apartments and less than 40% being single-family detached homes.
Architectural backlogs remain high, an indication that 2016 should be on a par with 2015. No announcement about the Shell project appears to be happening soon – with rumors that the decision is being delayed another six months. That may slow some of the commercial market west of town, as may the rising vacancy numbers in the south and west suburbs. Recent federal budget action will be good for the heavy and highway sector, which should see more than $2.5 billion bid and see more even distribution of projects bidding during the year.