Wednesday, September 19, 2018

AIA: "August architecture firm billings rebound"

by Bill McBride on 9/19/2018 12:30:00 PM

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

From the AIA: August architecture firm billings rebound as building investment spurt continues

Architecture firm billings rebounded solidly in August, posting their eleventh consecutive month of growth, according to a report released today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for August was 54.2 compared to 50.7 in July (any score over 50 represents billings growth). Most of the growth continues to come from the South and the multi-family residential sector.

“Billings at architecture firms in the South continue to lead the healthy increase in design activity that we’ve seen across the profession in recent months,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Nationally, growth across all building sectors remains solidly positive.”
...
• Regional averages: West (54.2), Midwest (52.5), South (57.0), Northeast (46.9)

• Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (55.6), institutional (52.3), commercial/industrial (53.6), mixed practice (51.7)
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 54.2 in August, up from 50.7 in July. 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.