Wednesday, August 22, 2018

AIA: "July architecture firm billings remain positive despite growth slowing"

by Bill McBride on 8/22/2018 03:21:00 PM

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

From the AIA: July architecture firm billings remain positive despite growth slowing

Architecture firm billings growth slowed again in July but remained positive overall for the tenth consecutive month, according to a new report today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for July was 50.7 compared to 51.3 in June. Any score over 50 represents billings growth. While July’s ABI shows that aggregate demand for architecture firm services continues to increase, much of that growth came from one region—the South.

“Billings at architecture firms in the South remained robust in July, offsetting declining billings in other regions of the country,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Despite the dip in the overall ABI number in July, firms are still reporting a healthy increase in new projects.”
...
• Regional averages: West (49.6), Midwest (49.3), South (55.2), Northeast (48.0)

• Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (54.6), institutional (51.1), commercial/industrial (50.1), mixed practice (48.2)
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 50.7 in July, down from 51.3 in June. 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 and into 2019.