The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for October was 53.7, down slightly from the score of 55.2 for September. This is the sixth straight month of the ABI indicating an increase in billings and design activity. The ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending and gives some insight on what to expect in the coming year. For the ABI any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings and any score below 50 indicates a decrease in billings.
Three of the four regional averages were again above the 50 mark. The South and West had higher three-month averages in October than in September with scores of 58.4 and 56.1, respectively. The Midwest clocked in with a score of 54.4 and the Northeast fell below 50 with a three-month average score of 47.0 in October.
All sectors reported growth again in October with Mixed Practice clocking in at 56.9. This was followed by Multi-family Residential at 54.7, Institutional at 54.4 and Commercial/Industrial with a score of 52.3.
The AIA’s new projects inquiry index was at 62.7 in October, down from September’s score of 64.8. The design contracts index, which was introduced back in March, acts as sort of a precursor to future ABI scores. The score for the design contracts index in October was 56.4, which is four-tenths of a point lower from the 56.8 score in September.