The rate of residential construction spending fell for the 21st consecutive month in November, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today, and dropped 17.8 percent compared to November 2006.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of spending on private residential construction projects was $484.9 billion in November, which is down 30.3 percent compared to a record peak rate of $696 billion in February 2006. The rate is a projection of a monthly construction-spending total over a 12-month period, adjusted to account for seasonal variations in construction activity.

The total construction spending rate for public and private residential and nonresidential projects was $1.17 trillion in November, down about 0.1 percent compared to the November 2006 rate.

During the first 11 months of this year, total construction spending amounted to $1.08 trillion, which is about 2.5 percent lower than spending during the same period last year.

Spending on all private construction projects reached a rate of $860.7 billion in November, down 4.8 percent compared to November 2006, while the rate of spending on public construction projects rose 16.2 percent from November 2006 to November 2007, to $304.3 billion. The spending rate for private, nonresidential projects has risen for the past 14 months, from $304.6 billion in September 2006 to $375.8 billion in November 2007.

The Census Bureau noted that that month-to-month changes in seasonally adjusted statistics may show irregular movements, and it may take two months to establish an underlying trend for total construction spending and up to eight months for specific categories of construction. Statistics are estimated from several sources and surveys and are subject to sampling variability as well as nonsampling error including bias and variance from response, nonreporting and undercoverage, the agency also reported. Statistics are preliminary estimates that are subject to revision in following months.

December 2007 construction-spending data will be released at 10 a.m. EST on Feb 1.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com, or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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