Wednesday, June 20, 2018

AIA: "Architecture firm billings strengthen in May"

by Bill McBride on 6/20/2018 02:31:00 PM

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

From the AIA: Architecture firm billings strengthen in May

Architecture firm billings grew in May, marking the eighth consecutive month of solid growth, according to a new report today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Overall, the AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for May was 52.8 (any score over 50 is billings growth), which shows that demand for services from architecture firms continues to be healthy. The ABI also indicated that business conditions remain strong at firms located in the South and West, while growth in billings was modest at firms in the Northeast and Midwest.

“Architecture firms continue to have plenty of work as they enter the busiest part of the design and construction season,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “This is especially true for firms serving the institutional building sector, which reported their strongest growth in billings in several years.”
...
• Regional averages: West (51.9), Midwest (50.2), South (55.0), Northeast (50.6)

• Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (52.1), institutional (54.3), commercial/industrial (53.6), mixed practice (47.9)
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 52.8 in May, up from 52.0 in April. 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 11 of the last 12 months, suggesting a further increase in CRE investment in 2018.