After a drop of more than 3 points in November, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI), which reflects the approximate 9 to 12 month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending, had a negligible increase of less than 1 point in December.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the December ABI rating was 43.4, a slight increase from 42.8 in November. The score indicates a continued decline in demand for design services (any score below 50 indicates a decrease in billings).
“The main impediment to an economic turnaround for the design and construction industry remains frozen credit markets,” says Kermit Baker, chief economist for AIA. “We continue to hear that there are numerous viable projects out there awaiting financing. And the longer this situation persists, the more dire the news for the architecture profession, which is struggling at unprecedented proportions.”
The December ABI rating for new project inquiries was 55.3, a decrease of more than 3 points from the previous month. Additionally, the average regional ratings for the Northeast was at 48.6; for the Midwest, 46.6; for the South, 43.2; and for the West, 40.0. The multi=family residential sector had an ABI rating of 51.0, while the institutional sector was rated at 44.2; commercial/industrial at 42.7; and mixed-practice at 38.1.