According to a new report from the American Institute of Architects, a slight improvement in business conditions has led to fewer architecture firms reporting declining billings.
AIA's ABI score for September 2020 was 47.0 compared to 40.0 in August (any score below 50 indicates a decline in firm billings). Last month's score indicates overall revenue at U.S architecture firms continued to decline from August to September, however, the pace of decline slowed significantly. Inquiries into new projects during September grew for the second time since February, with a score of 57.2 compared to 51.6 in August. The value of new design contracts moderated to a score of 48.9 in September from 46.0 the previous month.
"Despite the multi-family residential sector showing signs of improvement, overall business conditions are recovering at a disappointingly slow pace," said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. "Other sectors may begin to stabilize in the coming months, but across the board improvement shouldn't be expected until the economic impact of the pandemic subsides significantly."
Key ABI figures for September include:
Regional averages: Midwest (45.6); West (45.6); South (43.7); Northeast (41.5)
Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (54.0); mixed practice (47.3); commercial/industrial (43.3); institutional (40.5)
U.S. home prices increased 6.7% in September 2020, compared with September 2019, marking the fastest annual acceleration since May 2014. On a month-over-month basis, home prices increased by 1.1% compared to August 2020.
The Mortgage Bankers Association's latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey revealed that the total number of loans now in forbearance decreased by 2 basis points from 5.92% of servicers' portfolio volume in the prior week to 5.90% as of October 18, 2020.
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