To compile the list, the folks at McGraw Hill Construction sorted through building data for the nation’s metropolitan statistical areas to find the 20 places where the most money has been spent on new construction from the start of 2013 through May.

New construction for the entire country was up 10% in 2012 and up 12% in 2013. The biggest driver of that recovery is far and away multifamily housing, a trend reflected in every metro area.

McGraw Hill focused on construction starts because they are a leading indicator of economic activity and one that is commonly used by builders, developers and economists.

1. New York
2013 Construction Starts, January to May: $8.5 billion
Change, year-over-year: 16%
2012 Construction Starts: $20.5 billion
Change from 2011: 11%
Largest 2013 Project Started, to date: Phase 1 of the Prudential Financial Office Tower (Newark, NJ)

2. Dallas
2013 Construction Starts, January to May: $5.2 billion
Change, year-over-year: 21%
2012 Construction Starts: $11.1 billion
Change from 2011: 22%
Largest 2013 Project Started, to date: Addition at T5@ Dallas Data Center (Plano, TX)

3. Houston
2013 Construction Starts: $4.8 billion
Change year-over-year: 8%
2012 Construction Starts: $11.1 billion
Change from 2011: 23%
Largest 2013 Project Started, to date: MD Anderson Pavilion (Houston, TX)

4. Washington D.C.
2013 Construction Starts, January to May: $4.6 billion
Change, year-over-year: 23%
2012 Construction Starts: $9.6 billion
Change from 2011: 15%
Largest 2013 Project Started, to date: Alterations to the International Monetary Fund Headquarters

5. Atlanta
2013 Construction Starts, January to May: $3.6 billion
Change, year-over-year: 80%
2012 Construction Starts: $4.9 billion
Change from 2011: -3%
Largest 2013 Project Started, to date: Baxter Blood Plasma Fractionation Plant at Stanton Springs (Covington, GA)

6. Los Angeles
Largest 2013 Project Started, to date: Renovation of Delta Terminal 5 (Los Angeles, CA)

7. Miami
Largest 2013 Project Started, to date: Dezer Properties’ Porsche Design Residences (Sunny Isles Beach, FL)

8. Phoenix
Largest 2013 Project Started, to date: Liv North Gateway Apartments (Gilbert, AZ)

9. Boston
Largest 2013 Project Started, to date: UMass Boston General Academic Building Number 1 (Dorchester, MA)

10. Chicago
Largest 2013 Project Started, to date: The Loews Chicago hotel-condominium tower

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