Throughout the current housing downturn, which began in late 2005, some sectors within the residential construction market — including the kitchen and bath niche — have fared better than others, according to the results of a new survey.
The latest in a quarterly series of “Home Design Trends Surveys” conducted by the Washington, D.C., based American Institute of Architects (AIA) revealed that homes targeted to first-time buyers, as well as those targeted to younger households trading up to a larger home, are apparently the weakest sectors of the housing market.
Only 5 percent of survey respondents reported that the first-time buyer market was improving in the fourth quarter of 2007, while 69 percent felt it was weakening, resulting in a composite score of -64. The trade-up housing sector fared only slightly better, with 6 percent of respondents reporting it improving and 51 percent feeling it was weakening, for a composite score of -45.
Other major residential construction sectors — second/vacation homes, townhouses and condos, and custom and luxury homes — are all reported to be seeing “serious declines,” according to the AIA.
In contrast, the remodeling sectors — both additions and alterations to existing homes and kitchen and bath remodels — are reported as “healthy and relatively strong,” although not as strong as they were a year ago. More than a third of the residential architects surveyed rated those sectors to be improving, with fewer than 15 percent rating them as weakening, the AIA added.
Asphalt RoofingPost-Katrina Stresses Codes
The Hurricane Katrina Wind Investigation Report, recently released by the Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues (RICOWI) Inc., concludes that adherence to existing codes may enable asphalt roofing systems to better withstand major windstorms, says the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association.
The investigators reported on steep-sloped asphalt shingle roofs, including eight made with three-tab asphalt shingles and three made with laminated asphalt shingles. Many of these roofs experienced only minor damage. According to the report, in those cases where significant damage did occur, it could have been eliminated if the construction methods were consistent with the latest codes.
The complete report, titled Hurricane Katrina Wind Investigation Report, can be downloaded in PDF format from RICOWI’s Web site (www.ricowi.com).
WindowsPella Recognized for Efficiency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy have named Pella Corporation as a 2008 Energy Star Partner of the Year award winner for the Product Manufacturer — Windows category. This is the second consecutive year Pella has received this recognition.
The awards are given to manufacturers and retailers that successfully promote and deliver Energy Star-qualified products, saving consumers money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
CertificationNKBA Offers CAD Exam Option
The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) will offer candidates taking its design exams the option of using the traditional paper and pencil hand-drafting approach or using a modified CAD program, effective Sept. 20, 2008. The exams include those for certification as a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD), Certified Kitchen Educator (CKE), Certified Bath Designer (CBD) and/or Certified Bath Educator (CBE).
Initially, three software choices are offered: 20-20 Technologies, Autokitchen/AutoCAD and Fusion (formerly Planit’s Fusion). In the future, other CAD options may be available, the NKBA says.
Fences and Decks
A 16 percent decrease in sales made 2007 a tough year for the residential fence, deck & rail (FDR) market, which settled at $10.1 billion. A new report from Specialists in Business Information (SBI), The U.S. Market for Fence, Deck & Rail Products, forecasts that the market will resume its upward trend and reach $11.8 billion by 2012. A 4 percent growth rate is predicted in 2009, with 7 to 9 percent continued growth through 2012.