Housing Market Setback? Index Shows Less Work for Architects

AIA billings down
AIA billings down

The wobbly economic recovery is looking a bit wobblier, if you consider the Architecture Billings Index put out by the American Institute of Architects, which reflects not only how much work architects are getting but also suggests the status of construction spending and the overall health of the housing and real estate markets.

After three months of climbing out of a recession-induced hole, the index suddenly sank back in May to 45.8 from 48.4 the previous month, a relapse from what was touted as a sure signs that business was improving for designers, contractors and developers.

"This caught us off guard after a string of good months in the right direction," says Kermit Baker, the AIA's chief economist.