Encouraging signs of recovery of the architectural market
The results of the twelfth economic trends survey undertaken by the Architects’ Council of Europe confirm the earlier signs of recovery of the architectural market that were foreseen in the previous survey. However, the situation still differs greatly from one country to another.
The twelfth ACE economic trends survey shows encouraging trends in the profession and the architectural market. Over the last year, the number of respondents considering that the current situation for architectural practice is good or very good has more than doubled, increasing from 9.1% in January 2013 to 21.9% in January 2014. Nevertheless, despite a downward trend, more than half of respondents still consider the current situation as bad or very bad.
Figures show that the situation differs greatly from one country to another. Whereas the market in Southern and Central Europe seems to remain at standstill, the situation in Northern Europe, headed by Norway, Sweden and Finland, remains very good.
The increased level of optimism is probably fed by a slight increase in short-term workload forecasts. While respondents report upward trends in workloads in all the segments of the market, the public and private housing sector sees the most significant evolution. In January 2013, 16% of respondents expected an increase in workload in this sector – in January 2014, they are now 24.3%. Regarding expectations for commercial projects and other public and private projects, similar upward trends are observed.
These positive trends are reflected in staff changes and short-term staffing forecasts. The number of offices with growing staff numbers since 2008 has increased and the number of those expecting an increase in staff numbers for the next three months has steadily grown since 2010 (from 10.1% to 15.2% in 2014).
The survey confirms, therefore, that the situation is stabilising and that the tentative signs observed in the previous surveys have turned into encouraging trends, suggesting a gradual recovery of the market.
The twelfth ACE economic trends survey was carried out in December 2013 and January 2014 and received more than 4.600 responses. These surveys are carried out every six months and allow the ACE to get a picture of the nature and extent of the economic crisis in the field of architecture.