Wednesday, May 22, 2019

AIA: "Slight rebound for architecture billings in April"

by Calculated Risk on 5/22/2019 10:16:00 AM

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

From the AIA: Slight rebound for architecture billings in April

Following a sizable decrease in demand for design services in March, the April Architecture Billings Index (ABI) climbed back into positive territory according to a new report today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s ABI score for April showed a small increase in design services at 50.5 in April, which is up from 47.8 in March. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings. Additionally, business conditions remained strong at firms located in the South. Despite this and the positive overall billings score, most regional and sector indictors continue to display decreasing demand for design services.

“In contrast to 2018, conditions throughout the construction sector recently have become more unsettled,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Though we may not be at a critical inflection point, the next several months of billing data will be indicative of the health of the industry going into 2020.”
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• Regional averages: South (51.6); Midwest (49.3); West (49.0); Northeast (45.1)

• Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (53.2); institutional (49.2); multi-family residential (47.4); commercial/industrial (46.6)
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 50.5 in April, up from 47.8 in March. 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 11 of the previous 12 months, suggesting a further increase in CRE investment in 2019.