Wednesday, December 19, 2018

AIA: "Run of positive billings continues at architecture firms"

by Bill McBride on 12/19/2018 12:15:00 PM

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

From the AIA: Run of positive billings continues at architecture firms

Architecture firm billings growth expanded in November by a healthy margin, according to a new report today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for November was 54.7 compared to 50.4 in October. With the strongest billings growth figure since January and continued strength in new project inquiries and design contracts, billings are closing the year on a strong note.

Despite some concerns about a potential economic downturn, architecture firms continue to report strong billings, inquiries, and new design contracts,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “For the coming year, concerns about the economy among architecture firm leaders tend to be balanced by their concerns about a lack of qualified employee prospects.”
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• Regional averages: Northeast (56.8), Midwest (53.1), South (50.5), West (49.0)

• Sector index breakdown: commercial/industrial (53.8), mixed practice (53.8), multi-family residential (51.2), institutional (50.8)
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 54.7 in November, up from 50.4 in October. 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 has been positive for 14 consecutive months, suggesting a further increase in CRE investment in 2019.