The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) climbed to 54.9 in February from 54.2 in January.
Any score above 50 indicates growth.
The new projects inquiry sub-index jumped to 64.8 from 63.2 a month ago.
The ABI is considered to be a reliable leading indicator of commercial real estate growth.
Last month, Stifel Nicolaus’ Dave Lutz told us these billings are a “huge tailwind” for the stock market.
Here’s a historical look from Calculated Risk:
From the AIA:
Washington, D.C. – March 20, 2013 – With increasing demand for design services, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is continuing to strengthen. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the February ABI score was 54.9, up slightly from a mark of 54.2 in January. This score reflects a strong increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 64.8, higher than the reading of 63.2 the previous month – and its highest mark since January 2007.
“Conditions have been strengthening in all regions and construction sectors for the last several months,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Still, we also continue to hear a mix of business conditions in the marketplace as this hesitant recovery continues to unfold.”
Key February ABI highlights:
• Regional averages: Northeast (56.7), Midwest (54.7), West (54.7), South (52.7),
• Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (60.9), mixed practice (56.9), commercial / industrial (53.3), institutional (50.7)
• Project inquiries index: 64.8
The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.
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