News & Opinions
The latest news and insights from Hanley Wood’s outspoken experts and key thought-leaders throughout the residential and commercial design and construction industry.
Global Consumption and the Next Construction Boom
In a recent post to his GatesNotes blog, former Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates wrote about the future of global consumption and a theory called, “relative dematerialization.” This theory suggests that, as innovation lets us make a given product more efficiently, with fewer materials or energy, prices go down and consumption goes up. Someone figures out how to make cell phones with less metal, which makes them cheaper, which makes them more widespread. Less metal per phone, but more phones, so more metal overall. Consider that, in our industry, steel and concrete are much cheaper to produceRead More
We’ve got LOTS to Talk About
Brad Hunter / Metrostudy Report / November 4, 2014
As we approach the end of the year, it is always important to start to imagine what next year will look like for housing. I think about that question every day, debating it, analyzing it, looking at the data, and imagining different scenarios. Over the past few years the public on builders have been announcing that they have wanted to increase their community counts. To that end, large amounts of land were bought in 2012 and 2013 that are now being seen in the data as new lot “deliveries.” We are seeing strong increases in new lot development in markets all around The country. (“Lot deliveries”Read More
Brad Hunter / /Metrostudy / November 19, 2014
Taken in total, the housing starts data paint a picture of boring, flat, lackluster performance in 2014. Dig deeper into the data, however, and you see a much more dynamic picture. The year is not over yet, but from the data we have collected first-hand, on nearly 100 metropolitan statistical areas in the country, we see markets ranging from a 21% decline in the past four quarters to a 45.8% increase!
Let’s look at a few of the stand-outs. The data below indicate the percentage change in single-family detached starts from 3Q13 through 3Q14.
In Southwest Florida, the Naples/Ft. Myers market’sRead More
Katie Gloede / BUILDER / November 3, 2014
The creative class, made up approximately 7.9 million Americans from artists to architectural engineers in three different categories, is characterized by young intermetropolitan mobility, according to a 2013 paper by Charlynn Burd of the US Census Bureau. The creative class categories include “analytic,” ranging from the biological and computer scientists, “synthetic,” ranging from architects to engineers, and “symbolic,” including artists, musicians, and the like. The creative class is most mobile during the age range from 25 to 39 whenRead More
Paul Winans / Remodeling / October 24, 2014
As a consultant to remodeling business owners, I spend a considerable amount of time on the phone. These hour-long calls, done with some regularity (ideally, monthly), can make a big difference in the success of a business. Anytime a business owner gets an informed outside perspective, there is the potential to speed up the progress of the company.
It’s not unusual for me to have a business owner request that I speak with one or more of her employees. By listening carefully to both the owner and the employee, I can provide insight on how the pair can improve their working relationship.
Brad Hunter / Builder / October 17, 2014
Housing starts rose by 6.3% in September, which places activity 17.8% above September of last year, according to the government report just released at 8:30.
Metrostudy’s view about the housing recovery remains unchanged. The total for 2014 will be little changed from 2013, but activity should increase in 2015.
The Top 4 Obstacles
There are still people who *should* be able to get mortgages who cannot (particularly those who work on commissions or bonuses, or are self-employed).
They have yet to help household formation rates, because those
The Associated Builders and Contractors Construction Confidence Index is reflecting growing optimism in our industry in sales, profit margins and staffing levels. As you will note in the chart below, scores across all three areas are now at post-recession highs. In 2014, increased optimism has not translated into strong growth in our industry, but our expectation is that 2015 will be better. What do we see in these tea leaves that gives us confidence?
The growing optimism on profit margins is likely the best indicator that 2015 is shaping up to be even more positive than the past year. Why?Read More