News, Trends, Community - July

Campaign on Hunger

Champion Windows Supports Local Food Banks

incinnati-based Champion Windows recently created its “Close the Window on Hunger” campaign involving the company’s 80 local showrooms and their customers. Beginning in June, the company pledged to provide a local food bank with a donation of 50 pounds of food per appointment scheduled and an additional 100 pounds of food for every project order placed by Aug. 31. “While our company’s national goal is to provide a minimum of 2.6 million pounds of food to those in need, we recognize the importance of being a part of the communities we service and have designed this program to give back on a local level,” says Denny Manes, Champion Window’s chief executive officer.

Case-Shiller

First-quarter Home Prices Hit New Low

The U.S. National Home Price Index declined by 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2011 after having fallen 3.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to New York-based Standard & Poor’s S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. The National Index hit a new recession low with the first quarter’s data. Nationally, home prices are back to their mid-2002 levels.

Statistics

Owning a Home is Part of the American Dream

  • 75 percent of the people who were polled said owning a home is worth the risk of the fluctuations in the market.
  • 95 percent of homeowners said they are happy with their decision to own a home.
  • Of those who do not currently own a home, 73 percent said owning a home is one of their goals.
  • 80 percent of homeowners would advise a close friend or family member just starting out to buy a home.

Source: National Association of Home Builders by Public Opinion Strategies of Alexandria, Va., and Lake Research Partners of Washington, D.C.

Builders

Confidence Drops to 2010 Level

After holding at a low but steady level for the past six months, builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes declined three points in June to a reading of 13 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, released in June. The last time the index was this low was in September 2010.

State of the Nation

U.S. Housing Markets Remain Mired

Millions of homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, existing home sales remain weak, and new home sales are similarly depressed, according to The State of the Nation’s Housing 2011 report released by the Cambridge, Mass.-based Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) of Harvard University.

Although there are no signs yet of a broad turnaround in housing, the report states the market could turn quickly as evidenced by the healthy boost in home sales and prices brought about by the 2010 home-buyer tax credit.

“The ingredients for a sustained recovery may be coming together,” says Chris Herbert, research director of JCHS. “But it is still not clear when home buyers will have the urgency to return to the market in sufficient numbers to lift the market in a meaningful way.”

The vigor of the recovery in housing hinges on a return of demand, the report says. “While the sharp declines in home prices and interest rates have left homes in many places more affordable than they have been in decades, stubbornly high unemployment and tightened lending standards have limited the ability of many first-time buyers to capitalize on the situation,” says Eric S. Belsky, managing director of JCHS.

The aging of baby boomers is projected to drive up the number of households with owners over the age of 65 by 8.7 million by 2020. Households over the age of 75 are expected to rise by more than 2 million by 2020.
Source: The State of the Nation’s Housing 2011, Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Remodeling Market

More Builders Turning to Remodeling

An estimated 19 percent of National Association of Home Builder members were primarily engaged in remodeling in 2008, and that number climbed to 25 percent in 2010, according to the Washington, D.C.-based association’s online newspaper. The percentage of members who indicated remodeling was a primary or secondary business activity rose to 57 percent in 2010, up from 53 percent in 2008.

Safety

OSHA Announces Phase-in for Fall Protection

The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a three-month phase-in period to allow residential construction employers to comply with the agency’s new directive to provide workers with fall protection.

The three-month phase-in period runs June 16 to Sept. 15, 2011. During this time, if the employer is in full compliance with the old directive (STD 03-00-001), OSHA will not issue citations but will instead issue a hazard alert letter informing the employer of the feasible methods they can use to comply with OSHA’s fall-protection standard or implement a written fall-protection plan. If the employer’s practices do not meet the requirements set in the old directive, OSHA will issue appropriate citations.

The new directive, Compliance Guidance for Residential Construction (STD 03-11-002), is available at Osha.gov/doc/residential_fall_protection.html.

Remodeling Index

BuildFax Shows 18 Months of Growth

Austin, Texas-based BuildFax’s Remodeling Index (BFRI) for April 2011 shows continued year-over-year gains with 10 percent more remodels in April 2011 compared to April 2004, the first month tracked by the index. The latest BFRI indicates residential remodeling activity registered the 18th straight month of year-over-year gains.

In April, all regions posted month-over-month gains, and only the Midwest posted a year-over-year loss. The West was up 16.8 points (18 percent) year-over-year and up 5.3 points (5 percent) month-over-month. The Midwest was down 16.9 points (19 percent) year-over-year and up 10.7 points (17 percent) month-over-month, recovering slightly from a lower-than-average March. The Northeast was up 3.2 points (5 percent) year-over-year and 9.1 points (14 percent) month-over-month, and the South was up 9.6 points (11 percent) year-over-year and 10 points (12 percent) month-over-month.

New Construction

Housing Starts Gain in May

Nationwide housing starts rose 3.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 560,000 units in May, according to the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Commerce Department. “While the upward movement is good news, housing production continues to bounce along the bottom near historic lows and is only running at a level necessary to replace dilapidated or destroyed units,” says Bob Nielsen, chairman of the Washington-based National Association of Home Builders.

Real homeowner improvement spending was up 0.9 percent in 2010, down 26.7 percent from its peak.
Source: The State of the Nation’s Housing 2011, Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Architects

Residential Architects Upbeat About Remodeling

Residential architects are positive about consumer interest in improving existing homes, according to Kermit Baker, chief economist for the Washington, D.C.-based American Institute of Architects. More than 60 percent of respondents to a recent AIA survey report improvements for addition and alteration projects are increasing, with only 10 percent reporting declines. Household interest in kitchen and bath remodeling is reported as even more favorable.

Minorities are projected to account for seven out of 10 of the 11.8 million new households in 2010-20. By 2020, minorities are expected to make up one-third of all U.S. households.
Source: The State of the Nation’s Housing 2011, Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

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