Industry Trends5 min

2018 Housing Forecast: Steady Year Ahead

As we kick off 2018, builders, architects and product manufacturers are making their predictions and looking for new opportunities in the year ahead.

Panelists at NAHB’s 2018 Housing & Economic Outlook presentation at IBS were cautiously optimistic about the coming year. They foresee 5% growth in single-family starts and strong growth in residential remodeling in 2018. Although they predict that multifamily starts will level off this year, activity won’t drop as sharply as in 2017. The consensus is that there will be steady housing growth in the year ahead.

Perhaps the biggest challenge on the horizon is that housing demand is outpacing construction due to labor and land availability constraints. New entry-level buyers will have to contend with rising home prices and mortgage rates.

Here are some other trends that will impact the homebuilding business this year:

Products and practices that improve worker health and safetyOSHA’s tough new regulations on respirable crystalline silica may cause some builders to look for alternatives to products like fiber cement siding. LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding products are a great replacement for fiber cement siding because they do not use silica or silica-based products as a raw material and are not subject to OSHA’s new regulations.

More products designed for easy installation – Due to the ongoing shortage of skilled labor, products need to be easy for entry-level workers to install. For example, there’s a shift away from installing shaft wall liner in favor of U350 wall assemblies (featuring LP® FlameBlock® Sheathing) that are faster and easier to install.

The push for partnerships – At the recent Hanley Wood HIVE conference, AOL co-founder Steve Case encouraged the construction industry to find new synergies from partnerships and alliances. A good example would be how LP leveraged Gorilla Glue Technology® in engineering LP® Legacy® Premium Sub-Flooring.

As we begin the new year, the mortgage market is stable, and the vast majority of metropolitan housing markets are faring well (324 in positive territory, with just 7 negative nationwide). The stage is set for stability and growth in 2018, but every year brings unexpected developments. Thanks to LP product innovation, you’ll have high-performance solutions to meet any challenge ahead.

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Industry Trends6 min

Where the Construction Labor Shortage Is Most Severe

According to the latest American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, about 4 million people now work in residential construction (both single-family and multifamily) – down from the 5 million who were employed just before the Great Recession. Although the workforce has shrunk by 20 percent nationwide, some parts of the country are experiencing less pain than others. Similarly, light commercial construction has been reportedly back on the rise post-Recession, with IBISWorld reporting that the recovery started just before 2014 and continuing steadily through 2019 (source).

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Industry Trends7 min
A Commitment to Product Availability

It’s frustrating when factors outside of your control cause you delays or unexpected expenses during a project. Those factors could be weather delays, insufficient staffing, breakdowns in cash flow and unreliable product availability. LP devotes significant resources each year to ensure that its product availability is second to none. Because even the most innovative building solution is useless to customers unless they know that it’s available when they really need it.

Business Advice10 min
How to Prevent Lap Siding from Buckling by Using a Butt Joint

It’s a silly name, but a “butt joint” is an application technique where two pieces of material are “butted” up against each other. It is the simplest joint to make, and a butt joint can be either end to end or end to face. Depending on the width of the wall, butt joints will occur where two pieces of lap siding come together, creating a vertical seam. LP® SmartSide® lap siding products are available in 16’ lengths, and can help reduce the amount of seams where a butt joint would normally occur when using shorter pieces.

Industry Trends7 min
Why You Should Rely On Data Rather Than Instinct

For many years, construction pros have relied on experience and gut instinct more than on data, but that’s rapidly changing. Many banks, investment groups and insurance companies now need a construction data analysis to help identify potential risks before okaying a construction deal. And in the field, builders need easy access to actionable information – both at the lot level and company-wide – to help boost quality, control costs and manage trade partners.