Outlook for Architects Looking Up

With the AIA's Architecture Billings Index at its highest level since November 2007, the future is promising for a profession that's been battered for five solid years. Can the construction industry be far behind? Matt Chaban digs into the numbers.
February 23, 2013, 1pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"In another sign that the battered real estate industry is rebounding from its post-bubble slump, the American Institute of Architect's monthly index of architecture billings has reached its highest level since November 2007," reports Chaban. "The index has now risen for six straight months, the longest such run since the real estate market was booming."

"We have been pointing in this direction for the last several months, but this is the strongest indication that there will be an upturn in construction activity in the coming months," AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker said in a release. The Midwest led the country's four regions with the strongest billings, followed by the long-struggling West, the South, and the Northeast.

"Mr. Baker cautioned against too much optimism, though, as the economy remains shaky in some places," adds Chaban. "One particular concern is the challenge of getting work financed."

"As we continue to hear about overall improving economic conditions and that there are more inquiries for new design projects in the marketplace, a continued reservation by lending institutions to supply financing for construction projects is preventing a more widespread recovery in the industry," Mr. Baker said.

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Published on Thursday, February 21, 2013 in Crain's New York Business
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