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Construction Industry Outlook 2014

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Photo: Courtesy of Thinkstock

Hawaiiʻs Construction Industry, one of the hardest hit sectors during the recession, is on solid ground again and looking towards an encouraging future. After several years of contraction, 2013 saw solid job growth and a number of announced building works and projects, both of which strongly suggest that growth will continue.

What can be credited for the uptick? You see the reasons all over the place: the development of Kaka’ako, Koa Ridge, and Ho’opili on O’ahu, low interest rates, renovations to homes and commercial buildings, new retail, healthcare, and private construction projects, rail (finally) getting underway, and even photovoltaic installations are all bumping up construction numbers.

The University of Hawai’i Economic Research Organization (UHERO), reports that private construction permits have almost recovered to 2008 levels and estimates that constructions jobs will continue to rise from 29,500 in 2012 to over 38,000 in 2015. Further optimism is bolstered by a bumper year for Hawai’i tourism, the most significant contributor to the state’s GDP, despite some underperforming numbers toward the end of 2013.

While many think in terms of large commercial developments when considering the growth or stagnation of the construction industry, it’s important to note that residential construction is a progressively hot market right now.

An ever increasing appetite for housing is reflected in the current price trends of the residential sector—as many homeowners are painfully or blissfully aware (depending on which side of the sales cycle they fall on); the average home price in Honolulu in 2013 was $650,100 with predictions for $724,000 in 2014 and $815,000 in 2015. The Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism’s Research & Economic Analysis revealed the other areas of the state are up, too. Maui County, for example, was reporting home sale increases of 12.6 percent for single-family units and 28.1 percent for condos by the end of 2013.

To sum it up, construction in Hawai’i is on the upswing. Between privately and publicly funded building works and projects, Hawai’i’s construction industry is poised to continue to grow steadily in 2014. While recovery from the recession is still in progress in many ways, construction is one of Hawai’i’s vanguard industries that is leading the state’s push towards improved stability.

We highlight what industry leaders throughout the state are forecasting for 2014. While you read more about what they are experiencing and predicting for the year, consider this to also be an invitation to get to know some new, locally-committed businesses through our pages. We think you’ll be impressed by their insight and range of services.