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.
Frank Anton / Hanley Wood / October 2012
If you budgeted at all aggressively either this year or last year—and were disappointed—I can understand why you’d be inclined to be cautious about budgeting for next year. But let me make the case for poking your head out of your sandbagged bunker and taking a fresh look at the housing market.
Do that, and you’ll see that every single important economic metric for housing that you’d want to be up is up and that every single metric that you’d want to be down is declining. Going up are: housing prices (almost everywhere); new and existing home sales; housing starts and permits; housingRead More
Frank Anton / Frank Talk / April 2012
In 1982, with housing starts at 1 million units, housing seemed like it was on its deathbed. But a year later housing came back to life. Starts hit almost 1.7 million units. Today, I get the sense that many building product manufacturers are frustrated by the slow pace of this recovery, which, after almost three years, has only pushed starts up to about 700,000 units.
My suggestion: Get over it.
The meltdown in 1982, triggered by unemployment and astronomically high mortgage interest rates, was really a garden-variety housing recession. This time around, the still-sort-of-sick patient is tryingRead More
Frank Anton / Frank Talk / January 2012
About three years ago at Hanley Wood, to counter the morale-sapping, water-torture effect of all the bad news about housing, we instituted something called “Good News Friday.” Every Friday, business unit leaders submit to me a short list of business victories big and small. Reading the reports provides a respite from the bad news about housing starts, housing prices, foreclosures and the standstill status of new home sales.
But now, for the first time in about five years, there is some good news to be found about housing. For example, housing starts are improving, and NAHB’s builder sentimentRead More
Frank Anton / Frank Talk / December 2011
Most Pittsburgh Pirate fans — I’m an exception — have something in common with almost everybody involved in the housing industry. Almost nobody in either group can imagine things getting better next year.
After enduring 19 consecutive losing season (a losing streak unprecedented in major league sports), Pirate fans expect another in 2012, even though the team improved in 2011 and has several good, young players. As for housing industry professionals, after enduring five consecutive years of declines in housing starts — and after getting fooled by the false spring of this year —Read More
Frank Anton/ Frank Talk/ July 2011
I think it’s time for everybody in the housing industry to stop asking the same question. Which is: When will housing really recover? The point is, nobody knows. The best answer I’ve heard — “eventually” — came from high-profile housing economist Mark Zandi, who further explained that demographics would, eventually, rescue housing. For me, that provides scant comfort.
So what should we all do in the meantime?
I suggest this: Think the unthinkable. That is, assume the current dismal state of housing isn’t likely to improve any time soon. Take that as a given,Read More