The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported August’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score was 53.0, down slightly from July’s score of 55.8. July’s score was the highest it’s been since 2007. This is good news for construction companies because the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. For the ABI any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings and any score below 50 indicates a decrease in billings.
Architecture billings appears to be on solid footing after getting off to a shaky start at the beginning of the year and suffering through two months with a decrease in billing in March and April.
Looking at the regional averages, the Northeast continued to increase with a score of 58.1 and the South remained steady at 55.1, the same score it recorded in July. The Midwest and the West both remained above 50 with scores of 51.0 and 52.5, respectively.
All sector scores were above 50 in August with Commercial/Industrial at 50.4, Institutional at 54.0 and Multi-family Residential at 58.1. The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average.
The AIA’s new projects inquiry index was at 62.6 in August, coming off a score of 66.0 in July. 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 design contracts for August was 56.9 which was two points higher than July’s score of 54.9.