Wednesday, June 23, 2021

AIA: "Architecture billings continue historic rebound" in May

by Calculated Risk on 6/23/2021 01:53:00 PM

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

From the AIA: Architecture billings continue historic rebound

Demand for design services from U.S. architecture firms continues to grow at a vigorous pace, according to a new report today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for May rose to 58.5 compared to 57.9 in April (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). May’s ABI score is one of the highest in the index’s 25-year history. During May, the new design contracts score reached its second consecutive record high with a score of 63.2, while new project inquiries also recorded a near-record high score at 69.2.

“Despite ballooning costs for construction materials and delivery delays, design activity is roaring back as more and more places reopen,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “However, concern over rising inflation and ongoing supply chain disruptions, as well as emerging labor shortages, could dampen the emerging construction recovery.”
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• Regional averages: Midwest (63.4); South (59.0); West (57.4); Northeast (54.2)

• Sector index breakdown: commercial/industrial (60.6); multi-family residential (59.5); mixed practice (57.9); institutional (57.1)
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 58.5 in May, up from 57.9 in April. 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.

This index had been below 50 for eleven consecutive months, but has been solidly positive for the last foure months.  

The eleven months of decline represented a significant decrease in design services, and suggests a decline in CRE investment through most of 2021 (This usually leads CRE investment by 9 to 12 months), however we might see a pickup in CRE investment towards the end of the 2021 and into 2022.