February Architecture Billings Continues Growth Streak
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) delivered a solid score of 52.0 in February. This is down a bit from January’s score of 54.7, but still reflects an increase in demand for design services since scores above 50 indicate an increase in billings, while scores below 50 indicate a decrease. This makes the fifth consecutive month of increased demand for architectural services dating back to October 2017. The ABI acts as a barometer for future construction activity and spending with construction spending following architectural billing by approximately nine to twelve months.
Scores from the new project inquiry index and the new design contracts index both showed increases in February as well. The new projects inquiry index for February increased from 61.1 to 62.4 in February. The new design contracts edged up from 53.9 in January to 54.5 in the latest report.
Three of the four regions also showed continued growth for design activity in February. The West led all regions with a score of 57.6, which was up from a 56.2 in January. The Midwest ticked down slightly, going from 54.8 in January to 54.5 last month. The South, the most consistent region for demand for design services, was at 54.4 in February, down a bit from the 55.3 the previous month. The Northeast inched up slightly from 47.3 to 47.5, making it the only region not showing growth in design activity.
Most of the sectors fared well in February with the exception of Mixed Practice which dropped just below the 50-point mark for growth. Multi-Family Residential inched up from 56.0 to 56.6 and had the highest score of all sectors in February. Institutional showed some nice growth in February, increasing from 52.5 to 53.8. Commercial/Industrial dropped from the January score of 53.3 to 51.0, managing to stay above 50 and reflect growth. Mixed Practice dropped from 50.1 to 49.7 in February.