After demonstrating a modest increase in demand for design services last month, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) for June showed its largest single-month jump in almost four years, rising to 55.7 and falling just a tenth of a point short of matching its post-recession high of 55.8 in June of last year. As the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reports, the increased demand has been spurred by schools, hospitals, cultural facilities and municipal buildings, as the index for the institutional sector rose to a mark of 59.1.
A breakdown of regional and sector highlights, after the break.
"The June numbers are likely showing some catch-up from slow growth earlier this year," explained AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. "This is the first month in 2015 that all regions are reporting positive business conditions." However, among all the optimism, there could be cause for concern for some architects, as the Multi-Family Residential sector remains well below the crucial growth marker of 50 points. "The demand for new apartments and condominiums may have crested with index scores going down each month this year and reaching the lowest point since 2011," added Baker.
- Midwest (57.2)
- South (54.9)
- West (50.7)
- Northeast (50.4)
Sector Index Breakdown:
- Institutional (59.1)
- Mixed practice (54.7)
- Commercial / industrial (51.6)
- Multi-family residential (47.0)
Key June ABI Highlights:
- Project inquiries index: 63.4
- Design contracts index: 52.5
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.