Architecture billings levels improve in early 2013

Commercial property development may rise in the coming months.

Commercial property managers may have a heightened interest in new property construction in the next several months, as the level of new building design contracts improved in March.

The total level of architecture billings improved to 51.9 during the month, according to the reading on the Architecture Billings Index from the American Institute of Architects. This was lower than the previous month's figure of 54.9, but still a positive sign for the market, as it was higher than 50, which shows billings levels remained high.

"Business conditions in the construction industry have generally been improving over the last several months," said Dr. Kermit Baker, chief economist at AIA.  "But as we have continued to report, the recovery has been uneven across the major construction sectors so it's not a big surprise that there was some easing in the pace of growth in March compared to previous months."

The multifamily market experienced the highest billings level in March, as it was 56.9, the report added. The next highest was for commercial/industrial, which was 53.5.

Not only are architecture billings improving, but the level of mortgage delinquencies for commercial buildings are on the decline. A report from the Mortgage Bankers Association showed the delinquency rate for commercial mortgages held by life companies fell to 0.08 percent during the fourth quarter.

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