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 safety – OSHA’s tough new regulations on respirable crystalline silica may cause some builders to look for alternatives to products like fiber cement siding. LP® SmartSide® 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® 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.
Big builder market share has doubled in the last 25 years and now represents about 50 percent of housing starts nationwide – and even 75 percent in some major metro areas. These mega-builders have huge budgets for both land development and marketing. It’s increasingly difficult for small and medium-sized builders to compete, but LP is committed to helping them prosper.Continue Reading
To better serve its customers in areas of order accuracy and delivery predictability, LP has set some of the industry’s most aspirational supply chain goals. Senior leaders meet regularly with experts at Gartner, arguably the nation’s best consulting firm in the realm of supply chain optimization. The aim is to apply best practices in procurement, logistics and working capital across more than $1 billion of addressable spend.
For weather-resistant barriers (WRBs), ASTM has developed rigorous tests for water resistance and water penetration, plus an air barrier assembly test. But an equally important test is ASTM E96, which measures water vapor permeability over a 24-hour period.
When people talk about home “affordability” it boils down to one number: the asking price. But home “attainability” is a more complex equation. Attainability refers to a prospective buyer’s ability to find an entry-level home (no easy task these days), obtain a loan and pay for 30 years of ancillary costs like utilities, maintenance and insurance.