April

Architecture Billings Index (ABI) picks up after rough start to the year

Billings National
BILLINGS (BLUE), INQUIRIES (RED), AND DESIGN CONTRACTS (GREEN) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER)
BILLINGS (BLUE), INQUIRIES (RED), AND DESIGN CONTRACTS (GREEN) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT’S NEWSPAPER)

In February this year AN hovered over the panic button, only to instead offer a mild frown at the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) report for January 2016.

Now the outlook appears to be more positive as the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reports that the April ABI score was 50.6. Despite being being down from March’s score of 51.9 the score, in being above 50, still indicates an increase in design services of which Brooklyn is becoming an significant contributor.

Construction in Seattle and New York has also witnessed a rapid surge, making them the two “hottest” cities for construction in the world. Some experts, however, are saying that such growth in the market is “unsustainable.”

BILLINGS BY REGION: NORTHEAST (ORANGE), MIDWEST (BLUE), SOUTH (RED), WEST (GREEN).

BILLINGS BY REGION: NORTHEAST (ORANGE), MIDWEST (BLUE), SOUTH (RED), WEST (GREEN).

“Architects continue to report a wide range of business conditions, with unusually high variation in design activity across the major building categories,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The strong growth in design contracts—the strongest score for this indicator since last summer—certainly suggests that firms will be reporting growth in billings over the next several months.”


BILLINGS BY SECTOR: RESIDENTIAL (ORANGE), COMMERCIAL/INDUSTRIAL (BLUE), INSTITUTIONAL (RED), MIXED-USE (GREEN).

BILLINGS BY SECTOR: RESIDENTIAL (ORANGE), COMMERCIAL/INDUSTRIAL (BLUE), INSTITUTIONAL (RED), MIXED-USE (GREEN).

After monthly declines through the first quarter of 2016, institutional billings rose 1 point to 49, signaling that this sector could see conditions improve. Commercial/industrial billings were higher on the month as industrial outlays remain strong.

Don’t forget: The ABI, the leading economic indicator of construction activity, reflects a 9 to 12 month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The national index, design contracts, and inquiries are calculated monthly, while the regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average.

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