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® 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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