Key Billings Indicator Suggests a Softening in Commercial Real Estate Sector

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reported a score for June of 49.1, which is down from 50.2 in May, suggesting a future slowdown in the commercial real estate sector.

The ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity in the U.S. and reflects a nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending nationally, regionally, and by project type. A score above 50 represents an increase in billings from the previous month, while a score below 50 represents a contraction. June’s score was 49.1.

The report stated that “architecture firm billings have either declined or been flat since February, the longest period of such softness since 2012.”

Additionally, the report clarified that “while inquiries into new work and the value of new design contracts remained positive in June, the pace of that growth continued to slow, with inquiries in particular falling to its lowest score in a decade.”

However, healthy backlogs will continue to keep architecture firms busy, with an average backlog of 6.5 months.