Wednesday, January 24, 2018

AIA: "Architecture billings end year on positive note"

by Bill McBride on 1/24/2018 09:19:00 AM

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

From the AIA: Architecture billings end year on positive note

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) concluded the year in positive terrain, with the December reading capping off three straight months of growth in design billings. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the December ABI score was 52.9, down from a score of 55.0 in the previous month. This score still reflects an increase in design services provided by U.S. architecture firms (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 61.9, up from a reading of 61.1 the previous month, while the new design contracts index decreased slightly from 53.2 to 52.7.

“Overall, 2017 turned out to be a strong year for architecture firms. All but two months saw ABI scores in positive territory,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Additionally, the overall strength of the fourth quarter lays a good foundation for healthy growth in construction activity in 2018.”
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• Regional averages: South (56.3), West (53.0), Midwest (52.9), Northeast (49.4)

• Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (55.4), commercial / industrial (54.8), institutional (51.2), mixed practice (50.4)
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 52.9 in December, down from 55.0 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 was positive in 10 of the last 12 months, suggesting a further increase in CRE investment into 2018.