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Orlando building starts remain strong, outpace country

New residential and commercial construction contunies in Orlando and outpaces the rest of the US.
New residential and commercial construction contunies in Orlando and outpaces the rest of the US. (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda / Orlando Sentinel)

A snapshot of the Orlando building scene shows a healthy dose of projects continuing to come off the drawing board and onto the project site, with new starts generally thriving and the area outpacing the rest of the United States.

The Orlando area, defined as Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Lake counties, saw residential building starts rise 59 percent in September, to $348.5 million from $219.2 million, according to construction tracking firm Dodge Data & Analytics.

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For the first nine months of the year, residential starts rose 27 percent, to $3.494 billion from $2.757 billion, compared with the same period in 2014.

Conversely, residential building starts in the entire country for the year's first nine months rose 17 percent, to $200.227 billion from $174.408 billion.

Housing has proven to be very tight in Orlando, so the new construction and ultimate availability of new homes could help ease the condition. September housing sales rose just 3 percent after a series of double digit percentage gains, as inventory remained tight.

September did see a blip in commercial construction starts, although non-residential building is up significantly on a year-over-year basis and vastly outpacing the national average.

Non-residential, or commercial, construction starts fell 44 percent last month, to $66 million from $118.8 million the prior year, according to Dodge Data & Analytics.

But the category is up 56 percent, to $1.384 billion from $885.7 million on a year-to-date basis.

U.S. non-residential starts dropped 7 percent, to $154.188 billion from $165.580 billion.

Total building starts for the Orlando area year-to-date are up roughly 34 percent, to $4.879 billion from $3.643 billion.

Overall construction starts for the country rose about 12 percent for the first nine months of 2015, to $497.384 billion from $443.024 billion.

The local momentum is to likely continue, as builders experience the benefit of demand and a strong local tailwind. For the Orlando area, "economic factors remain positive," said Dodge Data & Analytics chief economist Robert Murray.

Non-residential buildings include office, retail, hotels, warehouses, manufacturing, educational, health care, religious, government, recreational, and other buildings. Residential buildings include single family and multi-family housing.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at ktalley@growthspotter.com or (407) 420-5176. Follow GrowthSpotter on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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