December 2012 OverView

Remodelers Currently Busy But Uncertain

Remodelers are currently experiencing a positive business climate, up by 2.5 percent since last quarter, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s third-quarter Remodeling Business Pulse, but sentiment for the future is mixed. The impact of Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast is expected to impact the remodeling industry in the next quarter as homeowners start to rebuild.

National results placed predictions in the next three months at their weakest point this year, dropping 6.3 percent since the second quarter. More specifically, this quarter’s data attributes future declines to the following: high uncertainty at 76 percent, unemployment at 24 percent, and difficulty in acquiring loans, also at 24 percent.

What has stayed consistent is the overall business conditions data which shows a majority of NARI members feeling positive about all four indication areas: inquiries, requests for bids, bid conversions and value of jobs sold, says Tom O’Grady, CR, CKBR, chairman of NARI’s Strategic Planning & Research Committee and president of O’Grady Builders in Drexel Hill, Pa.

Markets

List of Improving Markets Expands Again

The number of U.S. housing markets showing consistent improvement in three key measures of strength expanded by 22 in November to a total of 125, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index. This marks a third consecutive monthly gain for the index, which now includes representatives from across 38 states as well as the District of Columbia.

"Not only did 22 additional markets qualify for the improving list in November, but the geographic distribution of included metros expanded from 33 states to 38 (plus the District of Columbia), while 97 out of 103 markets retained their spots on the list from the previous month," observed Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla.

Case-Shiller Index

Home Prices Continue to Rise

Data through August 2012, released by S&P Dow Jones Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, showed average home prices increased by 0.9 percent for both the 10- and 20-City Composites in August versus July 2012. Nineteen of the 20 cities and both Composites posted positive monthly gains in August; Seattle was the only exception where prices declined 0.1 percent over the month.

Consumer Sentiment

One-fourth of Renters Aren’t Buying

Forty percent of American households rent, and 24 percent of renters plan to never own a home, according to a survey conducted by San Francisco-based ApartmentList.com, which says the statistic is evidence the American Dream is changing. When asked about the length of time they plan to rent, 24 percent of renters say they plan to rent for the rest of their lives; 47 percent of all people surveyed believe renting is smarter than buying a home in today's economy; 32 percent of those surveyed report that their landlords have hiked their rent in the last 12 months; and 44 percent expect their landlord to raise rent in the coming 12 months. At the same time, 57 percent of renters expect their income to remain flat or decline in the coming 12 months. 

Home Sales

Pending Sales Show Slight Gain

Pending home sales were little changed in September but remain well above a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors. The Pending Home Sales Index edged up 0.3 percent to 99.5 in September from 99.2 in August and is 14.5 percent above September 2011 when it was 86.9.

Remodeling Index

Market at Highest Point Since 2005

The Remodeling Market Index (RMI) climbed to 50 in the third quarter of 2012, up from 45 in the previous quarter, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The RMI is at its highest point since the third quarter of 2005, tracking the positive trends recently seen in the rest of the housing sector. The RMI component measuring current market conditions rose to 52 from 46 in the previous quarter, while the component measuring future indicators increased to 49 from 44. 

Statistics

Remodeling Show (Baltimore, Oct. 10-12) Attendance

Total attendance: 5,642

Exhibiting companies: 299

Attendees from: 49 states, 18 countries

Source: Remodeling Show management

Election Sentiment

  • 70 percent believe the home mortgage interest tax deduction should not be repealed to cut the federal deficit
  • 71 percent favor extending the tax incentive for making houses and commercial buildings more energy efficient
  • Democrats (88 percent), independents (69 percent) and Republicans (57 percent) favor the extension
  • 70 percent of voters surveyed think federal income tax laws should be changed to allow homeowners to deduct losses when they sell a home for less than they paid for it

Source: American Institute of Architects Voter Survey

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