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Mixed Reviews for 2011 Economy

AIA's Architecture Billings Index reported another decline in billings at architecture firms with a score of 49.4 in October, albeit a decline at a slower pace than in September.

During the past 12 months the country has experienced stagflation or limited growth. Business conditions remain relatively tenuous overall, with two consecutive months of declining architectural billings coming on the heels of a slight increase in August. However, signs point that the housing industry may be rebounding.


The combined message from the construction activity as well as other recent positive moves in the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index and the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index indicates a continuing albeit slow housing recovery.

Privately-owned housing units:

  • Permits in October 2010 555,000
  • Permits in October 2011 653,000
  • Starts in October 2010 539,000
  • Starts in October 2011 628,000
  • Completions in October 2010 601,000
  • Completions in October 2011 584,000

LCDBM believes it will take several months for housing completions to catch up with the permits and starts, but the trend has recently been a positive one. Expect slow growth in this sector for the next few years.

Federal Housing Finance Agency's seasonally adjusted purchase only price index (HPI) shows that U.S. house prices rose slightly in the third quarter of 2011. Over one-quarter of all mortgaged homes in the U.S. are now either underwater or close to it according to data released today by CoreLogic.


Look for small signs of growth in the construction sector for 2012.

Construction spending:

  • September 2010 $797.3 billion
  • September 2011 $787.2 billion

Private construction spending:

  • September 2010 $482.9 billion
  • September 2011 $501.8 billion

Residential construction spending:

  • September 2010 $228.2 billion
  • September 2011 $228.3 billion


Spending on Cyber Monday was up a third from last year and the European markets had help from their central banking system. This led to gains of 490 points on the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Nov. 30.

LCI Stock Index

The Landscape Communications Stock Index went down slightly in the past year. On Nov. 1, 2011 ten new companies were added to the index to adjust for those that no longer had significant value.

  • 1311.71 on Oct. 29, 2010
  • 1274.45 on Oct. 31, 2011
  • 1535.66 on Nov. 1, 2011
  • 1608.68 on Dec. 1, 2011

Real gross domestic product - the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States - increased at an annual rate of 2 percent in the third quarter of 2011. This follows annual rates of .4 percent for the first quarter and 1.3 percent for the second quarter.

The unemployment rate was 8.6 percent for November. The rate remained between 9 and 9.2 percent since April. Last year the rate was 9.8 percent in November of last year.

- Courtesy of US Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, AIA, Mortgage News Daily

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December 14, 2019, 7:42 am PDT

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