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Oct 17 2014, 2.28pm GMT


From a forecast of 1.04m, US Building Permit figures did not perform as expected, reaching only 1.02m.

September’s figure, reflecting the previous month, was 1.0m, therefore there has been a pick-up of 0.2m – but this is only reflecting the pattern being followed over the last 12 months in terms of fluctuation.

After the 2008 crash in construction, the US building permit figures have increased at a gradual pace and evened off over the last year, steadying the construction market to an average of 1 million permits issued monthly. The annualized figure is taken across the year (monthly figure times 12) and reported the following month. October’s figures for September permits leave the construction industry in a stagnated position.

With less supply of housing and banks being stricter with loans, many Americans who have seen their economy pull itself out of the recession black hole, are now not being able to take up the low interest rates for mortgages. However, the figures for US Housing starts, also released today, look more promising, rising from 0.96m to 1.02m.

In the meantime, the construction industry as a whole has many projects but only a few larger than $1 billion. Most are in the $400 – $800m with exceptions in infrastructure such as the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor, Hawaii, US, valued at $5.17 billion with completion due in 2019, and the East-West Highway Development, Maine, US, worth $2.1 billion to be completed 2018 (source: World Construction Network).

The figures released today taken against the larger US market, including volatile stock markets and a dollar that, though strong against most other currencies, is being tested, all show that growth in the US is slowing maybe to a more sustainable pace.

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