According to the American Institute of Architects, 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 2018 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."
Key January 2018 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)
The National Association of Realtors is reporting this week that single female buyers continue to be a powerful force in the U.S. housing market, while low inventory, rising interest rates and increasing home prices remain, holding back first-time buyers despite notable interest in buying a home.