by Bill McBride on 3/23/2010 11:59:00 PM
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Note: This index is a leading indicator for Commercial Real Estate (CRE) investment. Any reading below 50 indicates contraction.
The WSJ reports that the American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Billings Index increased to 44.8 in February from 42.5 in January.
The ABI press release is not online yet.
Click on graph for larger image in new window.
This graph shows the Architecture Billings Index since 1996. The index has remained below 50, indicating falling demand, since January 2008.
The second graph compares the Architecture Billings Index with the year-over-year change in non-residential structure investment.
Historically, according to the AIA, there is an "approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending" on non-residential construction. This suggests further significant declines in CRE investment through all of 2010, and probably longer.
Note: Nonresidential construction includes commercial and industrial facilities like hotels and office buildings, as well as schools, hospitals and other institutions.