Calculated Risk details the findings of the latest AIA billings index. The original Reuters story on the latest index reading is here. It is considered a leading indicator for commercial real estate. The index is at 48.5. Anything below 50 indicates contraction. So the index still indicates a slump in commercial real estate construction and design. However, the index has been slowly creeping higher in recent months and is getting pretty close to 50--meaning things are starting to improve.
This suggests the slump for commercial real estate design might be nearing a bottom. However, according to the AIA, there is an "approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending" on non-residential construction. So there will probably be further declines in CRE investment through all of 2010, and probably into 2011.
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