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Latest Architecture Billings Index Reflects Continued Weakness in Business Conditions

billings-index-compositeWashington, DC – Architecture firms reported a modest decrease in April billings, but also a slight increase in inquiries into future project activity according to a new report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The billings score for March decreased from 50.4 in March to 48.5 in April (any score below 50 indicates a decrease in firm billings). However, firms reported that inquiries into new projects accelerated slightly to 53.9, while most firms continued to report a decline in the value of new design contracts, with a score of 49.8.

“The ongoing weakness in design activity at architecture firms reflects clients’ concerns regarding the economic outlook,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker Hon. AIA, Ph.D. “High construction costs, extended project schedules, elevated interest rates, and growing difficulty in obtaining financing are all weighing on the construction market.”

Despite the recent softness in billings, many firms are cautiously optimistic about this year. As the construction market cools, construction costs and schedules are expected to ease, which may make some projects more feasible. In addition, firms will continue to be able to capitalize on opportunities related to green building and energy efficiency initiatives that have increased over the past few years.

Key ABI highlights for April include:

• Regional averages: Midwest (51.2); West (49.3); South (48.7); Northeast (47.2)
• Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (firms that do not have at least half of their billings in any one other category) (52.1); commercial/industrial (51.8); institutional (50.6); multi-family residential (41.5)
• Project inquiries index: 53.9
• Design contracts index: 49.8

The regional and sector categories are calculated as three-month moving averages and may not always average out to the national score.

Visit AIA’s website for detailed information about this, and past billing index reports.

About The American Institute Of Architects

For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. For more information, visit www.aia.org.

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