Architecture billings climb for fifth month, signaling growing demand for new housing

January 23, 2013 01:00PM

The Architecture Billings Index, a leading indicator for future construction spending, posted its fifth consecutive monthly gain in December, according to the American Institute of Architects. The ABI score last month came in at 52, down from 53.2 in November, as The Real Deal previously reported. Any score above 50 represents an increase in billings over the previous month.

The new projects inquiry index was 59.4 in December, down from 59.6 in November, but the same as in October.

Broken down by sector, commercial/industrial took the lead with an index of 53.4. Mixed practice, institutional and multi-family posted respective indices of 53, 50.9 and 50.5. Regionally,the Midwest posted the largest billing increase with a score of 55.7. The Northeast followed at 53.1; the South and West saw respective indices of 51.2 and 49.6.

“While it’s not an across the board recovery, we are hearing a much more positive outlook in terms of demand for design services,” Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist, said. “Moving into 2013 we are expecting this trend to continue and conditions improve at a slow and steady rate. That said, we remain concerned that continued uncertainty over the outcomes of budget sequestration and the debt ceiling could impact further economic growth.” —Christopher Cameron