Wednesday, February 20, 2019

AIA: "Strong start to 2019 for architecture billings"

by Calculated Risk on 2/20/2019 09:58:00 AM

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

From the AIA: Strong start to 2019 for architecture billings

Starting the year on a strong note, architecture firm billings growth strengthened in January to a level not seen in the previous twelve months according to a new report released today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for January was 55.3 compared to 51.0 in December. Indicators of work in the pipeline, including inquiries into new projects and the value of new design contracts, also strengthened in January.

“The government shutdown affected architecture firms but doesn’t appear to have created a slowdown in the profession,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “While AIA did hear from a few firms that were experiencing significant cash flow issues due to the shutdown, the data suggests that the majority of firms had no long-term impact.”
...
• Regional averages: South (54.7), Midwest (54.4), Northeast (52.4), West (51.5)

• Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (53.8), institutional (52.9), commercial/industrial (52.6), multi-family residential (52.6)
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 55.3 in January, up from 51.0 in December. 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 16 consecutive months, suggesting a further increase in CRE investment in 2019.