Projected strength in residential markets set to be derailed by global pandemic

As the economy slows, a new report shows the extent of the weakening business conditions at residential architecture firms.

WASHINGTON – April 10, 2020 - The momentum building in the housing market since the Great Recession has completely reversed itself over the course of just a few weeks, according to a new report today from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The report reveals that revenue at residential architecture firms for March is estimated to have been 15 percent below their expectations at the beginning of the month, while April is expected to be almost 20 percent below previous expectations.

“Just as the residential sector was getting back on a solid foundation, it has been hit with this setback,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Until we have a better understanding of when the homebuilding and home improvement industries can resume their normal pace, demand for residential design activity is expected to suffer.”

Other key findings from the survey of residential architects include the following:

  • 70 percent of firms indicate that inquiries for new work declined in March.
  • 78 percent of firms have already seen slowing or stoppage of projects.
  • Around 90 percent of firms have seen problems with current projects due to COVID-19.
  • Most residential firms, about two thirds, indicated that virtually all/majority of their staff are now working remotely.
  • Residential firms anticipate accelerated revenue losses in April, with almost 70 percent expecting losses of 10 percent or more for the month relative to their expectations in early March.

These findings build on a separate recent survey of architecture firms serving the nonresidential buildings market. Visit AIA’s website for more COVID-19 resources for members.

About AIA

Founded in 1857, AIA consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through more than 200 international, state and local chapters, AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing.

AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation, and world. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards.


Matt Tinder
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