In the latest United States Construction Pipeline Trend Report from Lodging Econometrics (LE), analysts report that construction pipeline projects in the U.S. continue to increase, standing at 5,545 projects/658,207 rooms at the close of Q1 2023. Up 9% by both projects and rooms year-over-year (YOY); project totals at Q1 ‘23 are just 338 projects, or 5.7%, behind the all-time high of 5,883 projects recorded in Q2 2008.
At the close of the first quarter, projects currently under construction stand at 1,051 projects/140,365 rooms, each showing 9% growth YOY. Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months are at 2,060 projects/241,568 rooms, each up 8% YOY. Projects in the early planning stage account for 44% of the projects in the total U.S. construction pipeline at Q1. Early planning projects increased 10% YOY, setting an all-time high of 2,434 projects/276,274 rooms.
This is the fourth consecutive quarter of total pipeline growth for the U.S., which can be, in part, attributed to the robust recovery of travel demand. Increased consumer confidence and spending activity has fueled strong occupancy and rate growth throughout the last 12 months as well. Developers are motivated to sign new projects anticipating more favorable financing conditions in the coming quarters. Owners are eager to wrap up existing brand conversion and renovation projects, which have been a substantial focus for many quarters now.
The U.S. hotel construction pipeline is expected to grow modestly or just incrementally through 2023. There are no growth spikes expected this year. The pipeline is back loaded, meaning there is ample opportunity for vendors/suppliers in the industry, and third party management companies.
At the Q1 close, 62% of projects in the total pipeline are concentrated within the upscale and upper-midscale chain scales. These two chain scales continue to dominate the pipeline and that is not expected to change anytime soon.
Renovation and brand conversion activity in the U.S. continues to boom in early 2023, reaching record project counts of 1,953 hotels/253,533 rooms, for a 38% YOY increase by projects and a 37% YOY increase by rooms. LE expects renovation and conversion activity to continue into 2023 as owners spend to bring their hotels into alignment with current brand standards or look elsewhere for new brand identification.
A total of 103 new hotels/11,762 rooms opened in the U.S. in the first quarter. For the remainder of the year, LE forecasts another 493 new hotel projects/59,355 rooms to open, representing a combined 1.3% supply growth rate in 2023. LE analysts expect the upward growth in new hotel openings to continue with an additional 699 new hotel projects/81,574 rooms anticipated to open in 2024, for a 1.4% supply increase.