Sustained Strength Seen for Housing

Sustained Strength Seen for Housing

With an exceptional 2003 now firmly in the record books, and underlying conditions remaining positive, housing, remodeling and kitchen/bath industry officials are pointing toward 2004 as another strong year. Among the key statistics released by government agencies, research firms and industry-related trade associations in recent weeks were the following:

HOUSING STARTS


EXISTING-HOME SALES



APPLIANCE SHIPMENTS


CABINET & VANITY SALES
 
 

Market Analysis

U.S. Countertop Demand Forecast to Increase Steadily Through 2007

Cleveland, OH U.S. demand for residential kitchen and bath countertops is forecast to increase more than 2% annually as a "reflection of kitchen and bath remodeling expenditures that are expected to improve" through 2007, a leading industrial market research firm said last month.

According to the Cleveland, OH-based firm The Freedonia Group, kitchen and bath countertop demand will be fueled in part by a continued trend toward larger kitchens and more bathrooms in both new and remodeled homes. However, projected declines in new single-family housing starts will limit more robust gains through '07.

These and other countertop trends are contained in a new study released by The Freedonia Group. The study forecasts a total countertop market of 467 million sq. ft. by 2007, up from 420 million sq. ft. in 2002.

Advances in countertop demand will be stimulated by growth in the remodeling segment, which accounted for 71% of sales volume in 2002, according to The Freedonia Group.

"This is partly because kitchen and bathroom improvements are among the more popular home remodeling projects, and countertops are a key aspect of many of these remodeling projects," The Freedonia Group observed.

Laminate countertops will continue to account for the largest share of countertop shipments, with nearly 60% or 277 million sq. ft. of the total market by 2007, the research firm predicted. However, significantly stronger year-to-year gains will be experienced by natural stone, with the demand for stone "aided by consumer interest in the luxury and style that most stones offer," The Freedonia Group said.

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