Demand for design services remained strong in June per the latest Architecture Billings Index (ABI) from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). June’s ABI score of 51.3 was down from the previous month’s score of 52.8, but still reflects growth in demand for design services.
For the ABI, any score over 50 indicates an increase in billings, while scores below 50 indicate a decrease. The ABI is a leading indicator of future construction activity with construction spending following architectural billings by approximately nine months to a year.
Demand for architectural services has increased every month of 2018 and June marks the ninth consecutive month of growth in billings. The project inquiries index and the design contracts index also remained strong in June. The project inquiries index was at a solid 56.0 in June, down from 59.3 in May. June’s design contracts index saw an increase from 53.3 in May to 54.1. These strength of these two indices, along with the ABI, is a good sign for the continued growth the construction industry has been experiencing.
Despite the strong national scores for the ABI, not all regions are experiencing strong demand for design activity. The South was extremely strong in June with a score of 57.4, up from 55.0 the previous month. On the other end of the spectrum, the West dropped five points from 51.9 in May to 46.9 in June. The Northeast managed to stay in positive territory with a 50.2, falling from a 50.6 in May. The Midwest fell just below 50 to a score of 49.8 in June after hitting 50.2 in May.
All sectors were except for Mixed Practice showed strong score again in June. Multi-Family Residential led all sectors with a 54.6, up from a 52.1 in May. Commercial/Industrial saw little change, going from 53.6 in May to 53.4 in June. Institutional dropped from 54.3 in May to 51.6 in June, but still showed growth since the score was above 50. Mixed Practice saw some improvement, climbing from 47.9 to 49.3 in June.