The Architecture Billings Index Is Crushing It

National
Thursday, August 21, 2014
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01-july2014-architecture-billings-index-aia-archpaper

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

You should probably be sitting down for this because there is some big news regarding the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) that is not for the faint of heart. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s proceed. So everyone knows that the ABI has really been flexing its muscle this summer—it posted a 52.6 in May and then a 53.5 in June. Those are pretty solid scores given that anything above a 50 indicates an increase in billings, but then July happened—and it happened in a big way. Last month, the ABI posted a 55.8. That’s important news considering the index hasn’t been that high since 2007—since before the whole global financial meltdown.

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).

What truly makes this news so special is that everyone played a part. By region, the Northeast won the gold with a score of 55.5, the South took silver with a strong 55.1, and the Midwest got the bronze at 54.1. While the West didn’t take home a medal, it still scored in the positive territory with a 53.5. So, if you think about it, they are all winners. The same can be said for each sector. Mixed practice really blew things out of the water with a score of 61.0, multi-family residential wasn’t too far back at 56.5, institutional posted a respectable 53.3, and commercial/industrial landed in positive territory at 51.2.How about the design contracts index? How did that do? Well, how does a 54.9 sound to you? Pretty good, right? And the new project inquiries index? Well, have you ever heard of a 66.0?

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

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

And that’s not all! The forecast looks good too. “Business conditions for the design and construction marketplace, and those industries associated with it, appear to be well-positioned for continued growth in the coming months,” AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, said in a statement. “The key to a more widespread boost in design activity continues to be the institutional sector which is starting to exhibit signs of life after languishing for the better part of the last five-plus years.”

Let’s finish things off here today with just a little more data. The American Society of Interior Designers recently announced that in June the Interior Design Billings Index (IDBI) scored a 55.8 and the Inquiries Index went even higher to 58.2. Sure, that’s obviously down from May, but still positive, still positive.

The Interior Design Billings Index and the Inquiries Index. (Courtesy The American Society of Interior Designers)

The Interior Design Billings Index and the Inquiries Index. (Courtesy The American Society of Interior Designers)

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