The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score was 55.2 for September. This is a couple of points higher than August’s score of 53. This is the fifth straight month of the ABI indicating an increase in billings. Because the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending this is a great indicator 2015 is shaping up to be a productive year for the construction industry. For the ABI any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings and any score below 50 indicates a decrease in billings.
September also marks the third straight month that all regions were indicating an increase in billings with scores above 50. All regions except for the Northeast had scores higher than the previous month. The South had the highest score at 55.3, followed by the Midwest at 55.1, the West at 54.2 and the Northeast at 51.0.
All sectors reported growth in September with Multi-family Residential leading the way with a score of 55.3. The Institutional sector reported a score of 54.9 and Commercial/Industrial had a score of 50.8. This is the fourth straight month that these three sectors indicated an increase in billings based on their three-month moving average.
The AIA’s new projects inquiry index was at 64.8 in September, up from August’s score of 62.6. The AIA introduced a new indicator back in March that measures the trends in new design contracts which acts as sort of a precursor to future ABI scores. The score for the design contracts index for September was 56.8, just a tenth of a point lower from August’s score which was 56.9.