2018 started on a strong note for architecture firms, as the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) saw its highest January score since 2007. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the January ABI score was 54.7, up from a score of 52.8 in the previous month.
This score reflects an increase in design services provided by U.S. architecture firms (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 61.1, down from a reading of 62.0 the previous month, while the new design contracts index increased slightly from 53.4 to 53.9.
“Healthy conditions continue across all sectors and regions except the Northeast, where firm billings softened for the second consecutive month,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “With strong billings and healthy growth in new projects to start the year, firms remain generally optimistic about business conditions for the next several months.”
* Every January the AIA research department updates the seasonal factors used to calculate the ABI, resulting in a revision of recent ABI values.
Key January ABI highlights:
- Regional averages: West (56.2), South (55.3), Midwest (54.8), Northeast (47.3)
- Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (56.0), commercial / industrial (53.3), institutional (52.5), mixed practice (50.1)
- Project inquiries index: 61.1
- Design contracts index: 53.9
The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.