The latest American Institute of Architects (AIA) Billings Index was released yesterday showing an increase in inquiries but a slight decrease in billings. Inquiries hit their highest level since August 2008, right before Lehman's collapse and the market's nosedive.
The AIA conducts its monthly "Work on the Boards" survey to gauge changes in activity. The results tend to be be a leading indicator for construction activity 9-12 months down the road. Although the index focuses on commercial activity, it has also moved in line with residential construction as well. The chart below, shows the S&P Home Builders Index compared to the AIA numbers over the past 2 two years.