Wednesday, November 16, 2011

AIA: Architecture Billings Index increased in October

by Bill McBride on 11/16/2011 01:15:00 PM

Note: This index is a leading indicator for new Commercial Real Estate (CRE) investment.

From AIA: Architecture Billings Index Moves Upward

After a sharp dip in September, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) climbed nearly three points in October. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the October ABI score was 49.4, following a score of 46.9 in September. This score reflects an overall decrease in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 57.3, up from a reading of 54.3 the previous month.

“An increase in the billings index is always an encouraging sign,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “We’re seeing some regions and some construction sectors move into positive territory. But there continues to be a high level of volatility in the marketplace with architecture firms reporting a wide range of conditions from improving to uncertain to poor. It’s likely we will see a similar state of affairs in the coming months.”
AIA Architecture Billing Index Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the Architecture Billings Index since 1996. The index increased to 49.4 in October from 46.9 in September. Anything below 50 indicates contraction in demand for architects' services.

Note: This includes commercial and industrial facilities like hotels and office buildings, multi-family residential, as well as schools, hospitals and other institutions.

According to the AIA, there is an "approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending" on non-residential construction. So the recent surveys suggests further declines in CRE investment in 2012.
All current Commercial Real Estate graphs