Wednesday, February 24, 2010

AIA: Architecture Billings Index Shows Contraction in January

by Calculated Risk on 2/24/2010 01:13:00 AM

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

Reuters reports that the American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Billings Index decreased to 42.5 in January from 43.4 in December. Any reading below 50 indicates contraction.

The index has remained below 50, indicating contraction in demand for design services, since January 2008. Its lowest recent reading was in January 2009, when it reached a revised 33.9 level.
The ABI press release is not online yet.

AIA Architecture Billing Index 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.

Historically 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 this year, and probably longer.

Note: Nonresidential construction includes commercial and industrial facilities like hotels and office buildings, as well as schools, hospitals and other institutions.