Wednesday, January 21, 2015

AIA: Architecture Billings Index increased in December

by Bill McBride on 1/21/2015 10:32:00 AM

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

From Reuters: U.S. architecture billings index rises in December

The index rose to 52.2 in December from 50.9 in November, making it ten months that the index had risen in 2014.

A reading above 50 indicates an increase in billings.

"Particularly encouraging is the continued solid upturn in design activity at institutional firms, since public sector facilities were the last nonresidential building project type to recover from the downturn," AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker said.
emphasis added
AIA Architecture Billing Index Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the Architecture Billings Index since 1996. The index was at 52.2 in December, up from 50.9 in November. Anything above 50 indicates expansion 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.  This index has indicated expansion for eight consecutive months, and those positive readings suggest an increase in CRE investment in 2015.