Economic Data Points to Increasing Phoenix Construction in 2015

Posted by on Friday, October 24th, 2014 at 9:38pm

It's a half-full glass in the monthly Architectural Billing Index from the American Association of Architects.

The national index hit 55.2 in September, up from 53.0 in August. The other two indexes AIA reports, inquiries and new contracts are also up.

These data are a nine- to 12-month leading indicator of anticipated construction starts.

In the ABI, any number over 50 means a rising trend, under 50 is a drop from the previous month.

In the West region, which includes Arizona, the index in September dipped slightly to 54.2 from 54.4 in August, but the index for the region is in the fourth month of a rebound from declining trends from April and May.

"Strong demand for apartment buildings and condominiums has been one of the main drivers in helping to keep the design and construction market afloat in recent years," said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. "There continues to be a healthy market for those types of design projects, but the recently resurgent Institutional sector is leading to broader growth for the entire construction industry."

Two other indexes mark increases for the month. The Project Inquiries Index hit 64.8 last month, up from 62.6 in August. The Design Contract index tracks new jobs started during the month. It hit 56.8 in September, down a whisker from August's 56.9, but the two months are the highest since January 2013.

AIA also uses the index to track different sectors. For September, Institutional billings trended up slightly to 54.9 over August, but the other three sectors, Residential, Commercial/Industrial and Mixed Practice, all declined. Commercial and industrial projects were down 0.1 points to 50.8. Residential dropped 1.6 points to 55.3 from 56.9, and mixed practice projects dropped 3.2 points from 57 in August to 53.8 in September.


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