On the radar

One of our traditions at Residential Design + Build is to report the results of our annual Market Trends Survey. This year’s results can be seen on pages 16-19 of this issue. We’ve asked some new questions this year as well as some standards to gauge trends.

The results can be summarized as follows:

A few of the questions asked you to rank products and homeowner preferences, which got me thinking about other lists and rankings we could produce for you. So I’ve come up with the Top X Blips on your Radar for 2012.

Health care reform – The U.S. Supreme Court will be making a big decision in the first half of this year. It will be deciding the constitutionality of the health care reform act. Specifically, the justices will decide if it’s constitutional for the government to force its citizens to carry health insurance. There’s more on the plate than this, but this will be the major decision they make. Other aspects of the health care reform effort will have an effect on your business, but with so much of it up in the air until the Supreme Court makes its decision, it’s difficult to know exactly how. Stay tuned.

Elections – There’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding the big elections to be held later this year. The biggest one is whether or not President Obama will be re-elected. Secondly, there’s the question of who will be the person to challenge him from the Republican party. Another uncertainty will be how much attention housing will get during the campaigning. Will the rhetoric focus on jobs and the economy in general, or will housing – an economic driver – get the attention it deserves? Also, I wonder which will be more substantial: the effect of the economy on the elections, or the elections on the economy?

Survivor series – Our popular survivor series will continue in 2012, beginning with the next installment in the March/April issue which will include the story of Laughlin Homes and Restoration in Texas. Until now, the series has focused on design and construction firms that have struggled or been reinvented as the result of struggles. Laughlin is a different company that has remained strong, and the article will show you why and how. Moving forward, the company in focus for the May/June survivor article is already working on its contribution.

A new year is always a time for renewed hope and optimism. This year is no different. The housing market has remained stable on the low end and poised for improvement for a few years now, so why not have hope?