Despite the Federal government’s best intentions, the U.S. economy is finishing the year strong, and both the local and national housing markets are in good shape. That deserves a big THANK YOU to YOU – for it’s you, not the squabbling members of Congress, who are getting the job done!
As we finish out this year and look toward the next, we’re optimistic, and so are others. “The cards are in play for a decent and fairly strong recovery in 2014, and particularly in 2015,” said National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist David Crowe. “From the standpoint of GDP growth, housing has been a plus, growing at two, three and four times the rate of the rest of the economy in recent quarters.”
As we approach the New Year, we want to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season, and wish you and your business associates a successful and profitable 2014.
We look forward to working with you again next year on all your building and remodeling projects.
Happy Holidays from your building material supply partner.
In our culture we like to super-size everything – from our meals to our drinks, even our storms. Now, economists – lumber experts in particular – have attached the adjective to the wood products market, referring to the current supply and demand conditions as a “super-cycle,” which could result in record prices for lumber and panel products in 2014.
The report, released by Wood Markets, “The Solid Wood Products Outlook: 2013-2017,” examines an overall tightening of the global timber supply base, but forecasts that it’s mainly in North America where scarcities will be felt. What has caused (or will cause) supply constraints? The answers are many and varied and reach back a number of years, setting the stage for where we are now. Continue reading ‘Are Lumber Prices Set To Soar?’
Through 2017, global demand for windows and doors is expected to rise 7.1 percent annually to $223 billion, significantly exceeding the growth rate of the 2007-2012 period. That’s according to a new report issued by the Freedonia Group, a market-based research company. The US market for windows and doors is forecast to post a strong recovery and see gains of over 10 percent per year through 2017, after suffering outright declines between 2007 and 2012. Plastic window and door products are expected to see the fastest demand gains through 2017. Growth will be supported by increasing demand for vinyl windows due to their low cost, durability, and minimal maintenance. Talk to us for all your window and door needs.
The cost of your building materials are intrinsically linked to fluctuations in the commodity market, for when raw material prices rise for such things as zinc, lead or aluminum, prices will inevitably increase for the finished products (i.e. faucets and fasteners). As the year comes to a close, we’re seeing metals trade sideways, which could add to some price stability after the past few years of rising prices. Copper is the one exception, as a global glut could push prices down 10%. Oil prices are stuck, too, which should aid in the near-term price stability of petroleum-based products such as asphalt shingles.
The recent recession helped alter housing demographics; more young adults and recent college graduates remained home with mom and dad as they searched for jobs (and even after they found jobs). In other instances, households looking to supplement lost income began renting out rooms. In both examples, this sometimes meant retrofitting attic space into living space and that sometimes made for a challenge of where to put the stairs.
Homeowners didn’t want large, clunky stairs taking away from living space, so builders and architects had to get creative. To view some creative stair designs, google “building stairs in tiny spaces” and click on the image link. When you find something you like, show the picture to us and we’ll help you find the products you need.
Universal design (a.k.a. barrier-free design) is building convenience into functionality; it’s also an element of the booming aging-in-place remodeling market (see article below). In the bathroom, universal design includes the following elements:
- Grab bars near toilets, showers and tubs
- Skid-free flooring and slip-resistant tub and shower surfaces
- Easy-to-use single-lever faucets for sink, shower and tub
- Adjustable mirrors
- Console vanities, pedestal sinks and wall-mounted lavatories
Talk to us if you have questions about products that fit universal design concepts.
The market for aging-in-place remodeling continues to grow as more homeowners choose to remain in their homes as they age, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Since NAHB’s creation of the CAPS (Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist) designation program 10 years ago, the aging-in-place market continues to grow as families plan to age in their homes, or address acute needs. While the majority of CAPS consumers are 55-64 years of age, remodelers report that 23 percent of clients are younger (45-54 years of age) and planning ahead to age-in-place. In 2011, NAHB introduced a new course, Universal Design/Build, that focuses on integrated home design features and product specifications that account for client differences due to circumstance, physical characteristics, health issues and aging. Universal Design/Build expands on the previous CAPS courses by highlighting the successful integration of universal design into all residential construction projects. Learn more at www.nahb.org.
If you’ve been aware of the trend in rising building material costs, then this little bit of news won’t surprise you: the median cost of a new home is reaching toward an all-time high. According to recent figures released by the U.S. Census, the median cost of a new single family home rose over 8% in April alone to $271,600. Tight supplies of new homes and price increases in the market for lumber and other building materials are helping to limit the supply of new homes while pushing house prices up; however, housing market analyst John Burns says the supply restriction is temporary because building material suppliers are expected to re-invest in manufacturing plants as the building expansion continues, thus tempering the rise in material costs. We work hard to manage price increases for our professional builders, but we still recommend builders build in a “buffer” when quoting jobs.
One of the fastest growing segments of the siding market is fiber cement. The installed costs are reported to be less than traditional masonry or synthetic stucco, and equal to or less than hardboard siding, though slightly more than vinyl siding.
Like wood siding, fiber cement is installed over studs or exterior wall sheathing, with an appropriate water-resistant barrier, using galvanized nails or screws. Planks come either primed or unprimed and are cut with a carbide-tipped saw blade, snapper shears or guillotine cutter. Continue reading ‘Good Reasons Behind Fiber Cement’s Growing Popularity’
As the summer heats up so do the instances of jobsite theft; unfortunately, theft of tools and especially materials is all too common. As commodity prices continue to rise, opportunistic thieves target unsecured jobsites, stealing materials and sometimes transporting them out of state where they’re resold or used on other jobsites by less than reputable builders. Continue reading ‘Jobsite Security’