Multifamily Construction Rolls Along in March ABI

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Multifamily developments were, once again, the most in-demand for architectural services, as more and more builders capitalize on rental demand.


Multifamily developments once again prevailed in the latest Architecture Billings Index (ABI) from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), as more and more developers attempt to capitalize on the surging multifamily housing sector.

A measure of architecture billings, the ABI tracks several sectors in the U.S. construction industry and how high demand is for design services in those industries. Though all the sectors in the March ABI were above 50, signifying an increase in billings for architecture services, multifamily residential developments were far ahead with a 56.9 index rating, compared to 53.5 for commercial/industrial, 53.3 for mixed practice and 50.6 for institutional. Also, the project inquiries index, which tracks the rate of new projects for architecture firms, remained ver positive, finishing March at 60.1.

Such findings are not only consistent with our earlier reports on multifamily housing and the apartment sector, but signs of things to come. The projects reflected in the ABI typically do not begin construction for nine to 12 months, so as long as the index’s multifamily readings remain positive, we’re going to see more and more multifamily developments hit the housing market in the coming months; in short, as we’ve written before, the multifamily housing boom isn’t going anywhere.

For more perspective on how far the ABI has progressed since the housing downturn, see our infographic below:

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