Adobe Stock/Jeff Metzger
Adobe Stock/Jeff Metzger

The housing and residential remodeling markets continue to post gradual growth despite headwinds from affordability and other structural challenges, according to numerous industry reports and forecasts. With lots of uncertainty surrounding the future of the overall economy and the housing and remodeling segments, numerous government agencies and industry organizations have released reports and forecasts in recent weeks. Kitchen & Bath Design News has synthesized many of these industry-related statistics and forecasts, painting a generally positive picture for the future of housing and residential remodeling.

Residential Remodeling
Homeowners are exhibiting a sharp rise in demand for dedicated home-automation systems, according to the latest in a series of surveys conducted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The survey also revealed that demand for outdoor living spaces, mud rooms, home offices and au pair/in-law suites continues to remain strong, topping the list of special-function rooms popular for both new and remodeled homes. Among the high-tech features in demand are energy management systems, electric car docking stations, solar panels, wireless sound systems, home-automation controls and security systems, according to the AIA. Demand is also strong for first-floor master bedrooms, wider doorways and hallways, easy-to-use features and multiple laundry rooms.

Housing Starts & Builder Confidence
Solid gains in housing starts are in line with surveys reflecting a spike in confidence, even as builders wrestle with affordability concerns and other challenges, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said last month. Housing starts, according to the latest figures, were at their highest level since May 2007, while permits – a harbinger of future production – were running at a 1.42-million-unit annualized rate, the NAHB said. Builder confidence in the market also rose, matching its highest level since last October. “Housing has been on an upswing since spring,” said Robert Dietz, chief economist for the Washington, D.C.-based NAHB. Dietz warned, however, that builders “are expressing growing concerns regarding uncertainty stemming from the trade dispute with China,” at the same time as a manufacturing slowdown is stifling construction in some areas.

Appliance Shipments
Domestic shipments of major home appliances posted a modest gain in August compared to the same month in 2018, although year-to-date shipments continue to lag those of a year ago, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). The Washington, DC-based AHAM reported last month that August appliance shipments totaled 5.67 million units, up 1.6% from the 5.58 million units shipped in August 2018. Year-to-date shipments through August were nevertheless down 4.7% from the same eight-month period a year ago, AHAM said.

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