The vitality of single-family homebuilding in 2019 will depend on many things that are out of the industry’s control: how often the Fed raises interest rates, whether wildfires will once again sweep across western Canada and the U.S, and much more.
Here are three trends that are likely to impact single-family construction this year:
Offsite construction will continue to gain traction – Using European precision-machining, factory-built homes now meet the tightest tolerances and greatly reduce material waste. The process is dramatically reducing installation time and costs – and will be used by even more builders next year.
Meeting fire codes will get more difficult as lot sizes shrink – According to NAHB’s latest figures, the median lot size of a new single-family detached home is now about 8,560 square feet – down from 10,000 square feet in the early 1990s. Many new homes are zero lot line projects, where the house comes right up to the property line. Products like LP® FlameBlock® Fire-Rated OSB Sheathing are helping builders meet increasingly stringent fire codes for these homes that are often just a few feet apart.
More communities will strive to eliminate land development bottlenecks – The shortage of available lots is constricting growth in the construction field. Many forward-looking jurisdictions are taking steps to speed the approval process. In 2019, look for many more cities and states to implement one-stop permitting (“fast-tracking”) and other reforms like combining public hearings for faster community input.
Overall, most experts predict that the U.S. economy’s strong tailwinds – including record-low unemployment – will set the stage for a strong year ahead in single-family homebuilding.
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.