Market Overview

With a decline in housing activity and a general slowdown in consumer spending expected over the next year or so, the growth of home improvement product sales will also decelerate. Despite this, however, the long-term outlook for the home improvement products market remains strong.

That’s the projection of the Tampa, FL-based Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI), which points to an expected growth of only 2.2 percent for total home improvement products spending in 2007. Growth rates in recent years have averaged about 9 percent, according to HIRI.

“Most of the 2.2 percent increase represents real sales growth, however, as upward pressure on many building materials prices will abate the slower pace of growth,” observed HIRI.

The organization estimated the current size of the home improvement products to $312.1 billion, with growth to 369.5 billion expected by 2010 (see graph). HIRI said that total market growth should accelerate beyond 2007, and should range about 5 percent a year in constant dollars until 2010 — continuing to outpace the rate of overall economic growth. |

Remodeling Market
Existing-home sales to Ease

Existing-home sales are projected to ease modestly but should stay within a relatively narrow range over the balance of the year, the National Association of Realtors said last month. According to David Lereah, chief economist for the Washington, DC-based NAR, the housing market is showing signs of stabilizing. “The major housing indicators have been moving up and down within a reasonable range, which means the market should even out just below present levels,” Lereah said. “At the same time, housing inventory levels are balanced in much of the country, so overall price appreciation will be at a normal rate. We should see home sales rise and fall month to month, but don’t look for any big shifts one way or the other.” Existing-home sales are expected to decline 6.7 percent, to 6.6 million units in 2006 from 7.08 million units last year, the NAR projected, adding that would still be the third highest level on record.

Coastal Construction
Residents Brace for Power Outages

Almost half (48 percent) of adults in hurricane-prone states (representing 9 million households) expect to lose their electricity for 24 hours or more in the next six months. And at least one in three adults (32 percent) nationally say a lengthy loss of power would present at least some impact on their personal financial situation.

While nearly half of adults in hurricane states expect to lose power, just one in four surveyed (26 percent) — and just 20 percent nationally — say they own a generator that can be used as a backup power supply. Of the national respondents, 66 percent report owning a portable generator versus 25 percent who say they own a standby generator.

The survey explored issues homeowners would be concerned about in the event of a power loss that lasted more than 24 hours. Food spoilage topped the list of concerns in the event of a power loss (69 percent), followed by loss of air conditioning (50 percent) and inability to stay informed (50 percent). Other concerns include computer or phone loss (41 percent), followed by mold growth (39 percent), inability to use medical devices installed in the home (29 percent), and loss of a security system (24 percent).

The survey, was conducted for Propane Education & Research Council June 15-18, 2006, among 1,008 adults 18 years of age and older.

Technical Resources
NAHB Research Center Unveils Improved Toolbase.org Web Site

Toolbase.org has recently relaunched with a new and improved site architecture and navigation system. Enhanced resource sections have also been added to provide more comprehensive information on Building Systems, Home Building Topics, Design and Construction Guides, Best Practices, and Construction Methods.

The PATH Technology Inventory: An online listing of over 150 advanced technologies and practices. Field Evaluations: The ToolBase Web site contains the findings of the nearly 40 field evaluations that have been completed, covering all types of building systems from electrical and HVAC to foundations. ToolBase TechNotes: These technical write-ups offer fundamental narratives on common issues builders want to know more about. Each fact sheet includes a subject synopsis provided by NAHB Research Center experts and additional resources for more detailed information.

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