The Interior Design Billings Index (IDBI) dipped slightly into negative territory in September with a score of 49.2, down from a score of 53.1 in the previous month. The score reflects a minor decrease in interior design services (scores above 50 indicate an increase in billings, while scores below 50 indicate a decrease in billings). The index’s three-month moving average edged up to 53.5, slightly above August’s score of 52.4. The new projects inquiry index score was 55.4, up from a reading of 48.5 the previous month, and signals growth in design services in the coming months. The new projects inquiry index’ three-month average posted a score of 53.4.
Scores continued to reflect variability in business conditions across regions and with the exception of the Northeast, there was ongoing positive performance. Looking at the three-month moving average, firms in the Midwest increased 4.5 points to a score of 56.1; the South posted a score of 55.6, nearly the same as August’s 54.8, and firms in the West posted a score of 55 compared to 56 in August. Firms in the Northeast remained steady but in negative territory with a reading of 46.2 compared to 45.1 in August. The panel’s six-month outlook index was 54.6, slightly lower than August’s 55.4, suggesting near term positive business conditions.
This month’s special questions asked our survey panelists about their residential and nonresidential projects in the past quarter with a focus on sustainable or green design and health and wellness design. Panelists reported a weighted average cost increase of 18 percent to accommodate green design, and a 13 percent increase for health and wellness design. Slight differences exist between residential and nonresidential cost increase estimates, with nonresidential costs somewhat higher.