Architecture firms note mixed market conditions

Architecture firms reported a mixed construction picture.

A report from the American Institute of Architects noted that the commercial market experienced a decline during July, but demand from investors and property management companies have improved in some areas, especially the multifamily sector.

The Architecture Billings Index experienced an improvement to 48.7 during July from June's 45.9, according to the AIA. While the figure improved, it was still lower than 50, which determines a growth in billings. However, the multifamily sector experienced the only figure in positive territory, as it recorded a 51.4 during the month. Mixed practice facilities experienced a slight decline, as it was at 49.1, while the commercial/industrial reading and institutional figure were both below 49.

"Even though architecture firm billings nationally were down again in July, the downturn moderated substantially," explained Dr. Kermit Baker, chief economist for AIA. "As long as overall economic conditions continue to show improvement, modest declines should shift over to growth in design activity over the coming months."

The report added that the South had the only successful month out of the four regions, as it finished with a 52.7. The Midwest had a reading of 46.7, while the indices in the West and Northeast finished lower.

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