During the first ten months of 2019, U.S. construction spending amounted to $1.087 trillion, which is 1.7% below last year’s rate of $1.105 trillion, the Census Bureau said.
Despite this decline, the organization reports October’s construction spending was 1.1% above last year’s rate.
Nevertheless, construction during October was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.291 trillion, falling 0.8% from the revised September estimate of $1.302 trillion.
Spending on private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $956.3 billion, 1% below the revised September estimate of $966.1 billion, and 1.8% below a year ago.
Of that, residential construction spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $508.2 billion in October, which is 0.9% below the revised September estimate of $512.6 billion but 0.5% down from a year ago.
According to the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo, the Housing Market Index, which measures current sales conditions, moved forward 78 points, while buyer traffic increased to 54 points in October.
Additionally, homebuilder expectations for the next six months jumped to 76.
“The second half of 2019 has seen steady gains in single-family construction, and this is mirrored by the gradual uptick in builder sentiment over the past few months,” NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said. “However, builders continue to remain cautious due to ongoing supply-side constraints and concerns about a slowing economy.”