Saturday, June 25, 2011

Building outlook dim for West

A leading national indicator of future construction activity declined for the second consecutive month in May, with the West region showing the most disappointing results, according to a report issued this week.

On the heels of a sizable decrease in April, the Architecture Billings Index slowed even further in May, according to the American Institute of Architects, which reports on the index each month.

The index reflects the relative change in billings for architectural services, which usually lead to construction projects about nine to 12 months later.

The Institute of Architects reported an index of 47.2 in May, a slight decrease from April's index of 47.6.

It said the scores reflect a continued decrease in demand for architectural-design services.

A score above 50 indicates an increase in demand, while a score below 50 indicates a decrease.

"Whatever positive momentum that there had been seen in late 2010 and earlier this year has disappeared," said Kermit Baker, the institute's chief economist.

"The prolonged credit freeze from lenders for financing commercial projects is the Number 1 challenge to a recovery for the design-and-construction industry."

The West, which includes Arizona, had the lowest regional index in May (47.7), while the Northeast had the highest (51.2), according to the report.

by J. Craig Anderson The Arizona Republic Jun. 24, 2011 12:00 AM

Building outlook dim for West

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