Demand for design services in the US has slowed. According to the latest Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reported by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the October ABI score was 53.7, down from a mark of 55.2 in September, and the new projects inquiry index fell to 62.7. Despite this, the demand is still considered “healthy” with the South showing the strongest regional conditions.
“Though it has been slow in emerging, we’re finally seeing some momentum develop in design activity for nonprofits and municipal governments, and as such we’re seeing a new round of activity in the institutional sector,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “It will be interesting to see if and how the results of the mid-term Congressional and gubernatorial elections impact this developing momentum.”
A breakdown of regional highlights, after the break.
The AIA has added a new indicator measuring the trends in new design contracts at architecture firms that can provide a strong signal of the direction of future architecture billings. The score for design contracts in October was 56.4.
- Midwest (54.4)
- South (58.4)
- Northeast (47.0)
- West (56.1)
Sector Index Breakdown:
- Multi-family residential (54.7)
- Mixed Practice (56.9)
- Commercial/Industrial (52.3)
- Institutional (54.4)
Key August ABI Highlights:
- Project inquiries index (62.7)
- Design contracts index (56.4)
As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. Regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers. Any score above 50 reflects an increase in design services.
News via the AIA.