According to Lodging Econometrics’ (LE’s) Construction Pipeline Trend Report for the United States, the total US construction pipeline stands at 4,967 projects/622,218 rooms at the end of Q1’21.
While this is a slight dip in the pipeline year-over-year (YOY), it’s not unexpected given the lockdown and travel restrictions over the past year. Further, the pipeline shows no signs of great decline compared to what occurred during the ’08 and ’09 recession. Actually, projects and rooms in the early planning stage are up significant YOY (stats on this below).
Although hotel development may still be tepid in Q1, continued government support and the extension of programs has aided many businesses to get back on their feet as more and more are working to re-staff and re-open.
To date, nearly half of the eligible population is at least partially vaccinated, leading to an ease in requirements regarding group gatherings and indoor activities. Clinical trials of vaccines for children (ages 12 to 15) have been highly effective and look very promising for another strong vaccine wave.
Additionally, the CDC has announced that, so long as people continue to take COVID-19 precautions, fully vaccinated people are now safe to travel domestically. Americans are becoming more optimistic about summer travel and are making plans now. As a result, operating performance is expected to soar late this spring, summer, and fall.
At the end of Q1 ’21, projects currently under construction stand at 1,311 projects/179,304 rooms. Projects under construction continue to move towards opening. Through year-end 2020, the U.S. opened 841 projects accounting for 97,959 rooms. A total of 229 hotels/27,528 rooms opened in the first quarter of 2021. As delayed Q4 opens are coming online, LE is forecasting 691 projects/81,866 rooms to open by the end of 2021, representing a 2.0% increase in new hotel supply. For all of 2022, LE is forecasting 963 projects/111,235 rooms to open and a 2.0% supply increase.
Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months total 1,866 projects/215,911 rooms. Of the 1,866 projects scheduled to begin in the next 12 months, 26.8% of these belong to extended-stay brands, a segment of the industry that developers have become increasingly interested in over the last few years. Projects in the early planning stage stand at 1,790 projects/227,003 rooms, up 10% by projects and 14% by rooms YOY.
Additionally, there were a total of 1,198 projects/190,475 rooms under renovation or conversion in the U.S. during the first quarter. This is a small decline after seeing a slight increase at the end of 2020.
New York City Market Continues to Lead the U.S. Construction Pipeline
In the recent U.S. Construction Pipeline Trend Report released by Lodging Econometrics (LE), at the close of Q1’21, New York City continues to hold the lead amongst U.S. markets for the most projects in the U.S. construction pipeline with 145 projects/24,762 rooms. Other U.S. markets that follow are Los Angeles with 144 projects/23,994 rooms, Dallas with 135 projects/16,260 rooms, Atlanta with 132 projects/18,264 rooms, and Orlando with 98 projects/17,536 rooms.
New York City has the greatest number of projects under construction with 110 projects/19,457 rooms. Following New York City with the highest number of projects under construction is Los Angeles with 39 projects/6,657 rooms, and then Atlanta with 39 projects/5,500 rooms, Dallas with 32 projects/3,795 rooms, and Orlando with 27 projects/4,693 rooms.
The top 50 markets in the U.S. announced a total of 74 new projects, accounting for 10,219 rooms, during Q1 ’21. The leading markets for new project announcements include Riverside-San Bernardino, CA with 6 projects/633 rooms, Los Angeles with 5 projects accounting for 768 rooms, Phoenix with 5 projects/402 rooms, Nashville with 4 projects/692 rooms, and San Diego with 4 projects/474 rooms. New project announcements have been slow in the wake of the pandemic, due in part to the inability to conduct business in the traditional pre-COVID way, but developers are increasingly optimistic and anxious to move forward with new projects as the country fully reopens.
Experts at LE are seeing an increase in renovation and brand conversion activity throughout the top 50 markets. During Q1, 1,198 projects/190,475 rooms were in the renovation/conversion pipeline. There are over ten markets in the U.S. that currently have more than 15 substantial renovation and conversion projects underway. This group is led by Houston with 27 projects, Los Angeles, and New York, each with 22 projects, followed by Chicago, Miami, Phoenix, Washington DC, Atlanta, Dallas, Orlando, and Philadelphia.
In the first quarter of 2021, the top 50 markets saw 128 hotels/17,636 rooms open. LE is forecasting these same 50 markets to open another 367 projects/47,592 rooms over the next three quarters, for a total of 495 projects/65,228 rooms in 2021.