The numbers are in and the American Institute of Architects’ November Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has revealed positive business conditions for all building sectors for the fourth consecutive month.
As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. Understanding this, the AIA is pleased to report that November has reached a five-year high with a score of 53.2, slightly up from 52.8 in October. Since August, the national billings index has continued to increased above 50.0 – the break-even point between contraction and growth – reflecting a steady rise in demand for design services. The West seems to be the only region in contraction, coming in at a score of 49.6.
Additionally, November also sees the Project Inquiry Index at 59.6, marking the 47th straight month in which inquiries into architectural services has been increasing.
“These are the strongest business conditions we have seen since the end of 2007 before the construction market collapse,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “The real question now is if the federal budget situation gets cleared up which will likely lead to the green lighting of numerous projects currently on hold. If we do end up going off the ‘fiscal cliff’ then we can expect a significant setback for the entire design and construction industry.”
View the ABI highlights in greater detail, after the break…
- Billings: 53.2, the highest since November 2007 (55.1)
- Inquiries: 59.6 , the highest since February (63.4) and the 47th straight month above 50.0.
- Northeast: 56.3, the highest score since December 2007 (58.4) and this is the third straight month over 50.0.
- Midwest: 54.4, the highest score since February (54.9) and this is the second straight month above 50.0.
- South: 51.1, down slightly from the 51.8 in October, however this is the fifth straight month of growth for this region.
- West: 49.6, the only region in contraction and the first score under 50.0 for the West since July.
- Multifamily Residential: 55.9, down from October’s 57.3, but this is the fifth straight month of growth.
- Mixed Practice: 53.9, the highest score for this sector since November 2007 and represents the third straight month of growth for the sector.
- Commercial: 52.2, up from October’s (revised) figure of 50.7.
- Institutional: 50.5, down slightly from last month, but still reflects the fourth straight month of growth.
The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.