AIA: "Architecture billings continue to hold positive in 2018"

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

From the AIA: Architecture billings continue to hold positive in 2018


The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is reporting an increase in architecture firm billings for February from its Architecture Billings Index (ABI), with several key segments showing an encouraging outlook for 2018.

“We remain optimistic about the trends we’re seeing at architecture firms this year with the ABI continuing to show growth in February,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “We saw several major bright spots reflected in February’s data, as billings remained particularly strong at firms located in the West and Midwest.”

While the pace of growth in design activity slowed a bit in February for an ABI score of 52.0 (any score over 50 indicates billings growth), it still reflects a healthy business environment. In particular, firms with a multifamily residential or an institutional specialization continued to report extremely strong billings.
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• Regional averages: West (57.6), Midwest (54.5), South (54.4), Northeast (47.5)

• Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (56.6), institutional (53.8), commercial/industrial (51.0), mixed practice (49.7)
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 52.0 in February, down from 54.7 in January. 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.

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