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AIA: “Demand for design services continues to grow” in November

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Note: This index is a leading indicator primarily for new Commercial Real Estate (CRE) investment.

From the AIA: Demand for design services continues to grow
Architecture firms reported increasing demand for design services for the tenth consecutive month in November, according to a new report today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The ABI score for November was 51.0, down from 54.3 the previous month. While this score is down slightly from October’s score, it still indicates positive business conditions overall (any score above 50 indicates billings growth). During November, scoring for both the new project inquiries and design contracts moderated slightly, but remained in positive territory, posting scores of 59.4 and 55.8 respectively.

“The period of elevated billing scores nationally, and across the major regions and construction sectors seems to be winding down for this cycle,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Ongoing external challenges like labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, spiking inflation, and prospects for rising interest rates will likely continue to slow the growth in firm billings in the coming months.”

• Regional averages: Midwest (57.6); South (53.7); West (50.9); Northeast (45.5)

• Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (56.9); multi-family residential (51.4); commercial/industrial (50.5); institutional (50.1)
emphasis added Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the Architecture Billings Index since 1996. The index was at 51.0 in November, down from 54.3 in October. Anything above 50 indicates expansion in demand for architects’ services.

Note: This includes commercial and industrial facilities like hotels and office buildings, multi-family residential, as well as schools, hospitals and other institutions.

This index was below 50 for eleven consecutive months, but has been positive for the last ten months.  

The eleven months of decline represented a significant decrease in design services, and suggests a decline in CRE investment through most of 2021 (This index usually leads CRE investment by 9 to 12 months), however this suggests a pickup in CRE investment in 2022.

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