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Future construction contracts fall in June; but nonresidential construction numbers rise slightly.

Contracts for future nonresidential construction in New Hampshire rose 3 percent in June, to some $94 million, but future residential contracts declined by 15 percent, to more than $120 million, according to McGraw Hill Construction.

The Lexington, Mass.-based firm said contracts for future nonbuilding construction, which includes everything from streets, highways, bridges and dams, to airports, water supply systems and utilities, totaled $58.4 million for the month, down 8 percent from $63.1 of the previous month.

A $20 million nursing home project in Boscawen and Elliot Hospital's $16 million construction project in Londonderry have both contributed to the slight increase in New Hampshire's nonresidential construction numbers, according to Kim Kennedy, economist and manager of forecasting for McGraw Hill Construction.

Year-to-date cumulative totals indicate a 17 percent decline in future construction contracts to $1.2 billion from 2005's year-to-date total of nearly $1.4 billion.

Residential contracts saw the greatest decline of 23 percent to $569.2 million, from $742.5 million.

Future contracts for nonresidential construction are down by 19 percent from $487.6 million to $394.3 million.

The only increase for the year so far has been seen in nonbuilding construction contracts, which have increased by 11 percent tO $220.3 million, up from last year's total of $198.8 million.

Kennedy expects construction trends in the health-care sector to remain positive for the state throughout the remainder of 2006 along with construction of manufacturing and garage facilities and office buildings.

Residential construction, however will remain soft, he said.

"The residential market was strong for the first half of '05," said Kennedy. "But it started softening late last year and has continued."

While the downward trend in residential construction is being felt around the nation, the drop in New Hampshire's residential building market is much sharper, according to Kennedy who credits short term declines to rising mortgage rates and excess supply of multifamily housing.
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Title Annotation:REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION; McGraw Hill Construction
Author:Stone, Tracie
Publication:New Hampshire Business Review
Geographic Code:1U1NH
Date:Aug 4, 2006
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