The BEA has released the underlying details for the Q3 advance GDP report this morning.
The BEA reported that investment in non-residential structures increased at a 5.4% annual pace in Q3. This is a turnaround from recent quarters when non-residential investment declined due to less investment in petroleum exploration. Investment in petroleum and natural gas exploration still declined in Q3, from a $47.1 billion annual rate in Q2 to a $42.2 billion annual rate in Q3 – and is down from $149 billion in Q3 2014 (down by more than two-thirds).
Excluding petroleum, non-residential investment in structures increased at a 10% annual rate in Q3.
The first graph shows investment in offices, malls and lodging as a percent of GDP. Office, mall and lodging investment has increased a little recently, but from a very low level.
Investment in offices increased in Q3, and is up 28% year-over-year -increasing from a very low level – and is now above the lows for previous recessions (as percent of GDP).
Investment in multimerchandise shopping structures (malls) peaked in 2007 and was up year-over-year. The vacancy rate for malls is still very high, so investment will probably stay low for some time.
Lodging investment increased further in Q3, and with the hotel occupancy rate near record levels, it is likely that hotel investment will increase further in the near future. Lodging investment is up 23% year-over-year.
My guess is office and hotel investment growth will start to slow (office vacancies are still high, although hotel occupancy is near record levels). But investment growth has been very strong this year.
The second graph is for Residential investment components as a percent of GDP. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, RI includes new single family structures, multifamily structures, home improvement, Brokers’ commissions and other ownership transfer costs, and a few minor categories (dormitories, manufactured homes).
Home improvement was the top category for five consecutive years following the housing bust … but now investment in single family structures has been back on top for three years and will probably stay there for a long time.
However – even though investment in single family structures has increased from the bottom – single family investment is still very low, and still below the bottom for previous recessions as a percent of GDP. I expect further increases over the next few years.
Investment in single family structures was $237 billion (SAAR) (about 1.3% of GDP), and was down in Q3 compared to Q2, but is down slightly year-over-year.
Investment in home improvement was at a $223 billion Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) in Q2 (about 1.1% of GDP), and is up 9% year-over-year.