Regional Construction Contracts Expected to Rise

Article excerpt

construction contracts has been projected for Oklahoma and the seven other South Central states in a 1990 forecast by Dodge Construction Potentials, one of many firms comprising the construction information group of McGraw-Hill Inc.

Total construction contracts should total $34.5 billion in the South Central U.S. next year, up from a preliminary projection of $31.9 billion in 1989, according to the report titled "1990 Dodge/Sweet's Construction Outook." That compares to a 5 percent projected national increase to $295.8 billion in 1990 from $273.5 billion estimated for 1989.

- The value of nonresidential construction contracts - for commercial, manufacturing, institutional and other projects - should total $11.6 billion, up 2 percent from a projected $11.4 billion in 1989.

- Nonbuilding construction, comprised of streets, utilities, dams and others, was projected to increase 1 percent in 1990 to $8.6 billion from $8.5 billion.

- Residential construction - homes, apartments and lodges - should rise 19 percent to $14.2 billion from $12 billion.

Through the first 10 months of 1989, the value of total construction contracts in central Oklahoma has risen 3 percent to $633.98 million from $616.7 million for the same period of 1988. For the state, total construction contracts through October 1989 totaled $1.58 billion, up 5 percent from $1.5 billion in the first 10 months of 1988.

"Before long, contracting for new construction will be lifting off the plateau it has been confined to for the past three years," said the report.

"Despite a lack of short-term potential in either the overbuilt commercial market or the deficit dominated public sector, a recovery of homebuilding, backed up by improvement of institutional construction, will be enough to break the recent deadlock."

The report noted that little has changed concerning the "generally bleak environment" for the construction industry "except for one very important thing: the cost of credit."

"For now, that's sufficient," it said.

"It is almost axiomatic that a decline of interest rates, followed by a period of temporary escalation, will encourage fuller realization of the demographic potential in the credit-sensitive building markets. All that needs to happen has already happened. …