South Carolina Construction Starts and Costs are Rising
- Mid-year statewide construction starts in key sectors totaled $1.85B, a $426M increase compared to mid-year 2020. Pre-development indicators, particularly architectural billings, appear favorable for future growth.
- An increase in construction starts paired with steep material price increases resulted in rising construction costs. Prolonged material lead times are delaying the start of some projects. Suppliers, particularly those of steel joists and metal deck, are holding pricing for negligible periods of time. These pressures may diminish an otherwise optimistic market outlook.
- LCK Construction Tip: Plan well, get creative and start early. Alternative construction methods, accelerated design and strategic procurements are necessary to control costs and maintain conventional project delivery timelines.
Construction Starts: Statewide construction starts have increased in four of six sectors as compared to mid-year 2020. Commercial and manufacturing starts for the first six months of 2021 total over $1B dollars with commercial starts increasing in all key markets. A drop in education starts is not concerning as the sector is cyclical and South Carolina’s population continues to increase which will impact those starts over time.
Construction Workforce: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of June 2021 construction employment in South Carolina totaled 107,000 persons, 4,900 more than June 2020 and roughly 300 more than pre-pandemic first quarter 2020 averages. South Carolina’s unemployment rate continues to decrease with June at 4.5%, lower than the national average of 7.5%.
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