Kitchen & Bath Design News

APR 2014

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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Barometers { A look at key statistics & trends shaping the industry } 8 | Kitchen & Bath Design News April 2014 Stafng Seen on the Increase at Residential Architecture Firms A n early-year reversal for housing is being pegged on unusually adverse weather conditions across much of the U.S., with predictions for the balance of the year remaining favorable, industry analysts said last month. Among the key statis- tics and forecasts released in recent weeks by government agencies, research frms and industry-related trade asso - ciations were the following: HOUSING STARTS & NEW-HOME SALES The latest data related to single-family permits sug- gests that the forecast for solid growth in single-family housing production in 2014 remains on track, as pent-up demand is unleashed, the chief economist for the Na- tional Association of Home Builders said last month. Ac- cording to David Crowe, an early-year decline in housing starts is largely weather-re- lated, and "it's worth noting that housing production for the fourth quarter was above 1 million for the frst time since 2008, while single- family permits held relatively steady." On a related note, sales of newly built, single- family homes were pacing at a seasonally adjusted an- nual rate of 468,000 units in January, the strongest sales pace since July of 2008 (see related graphic, right). "There is little doubt that historically low interest rates, afordable home prices and a healing economy are bring- ing buyers back into the marketplace," Crowe stated. EXISTING-HOME SALES Unusually disruptive and prolonged winter weather patterns wreaked havoc on existing-home sales early this year, although the posi- tive market dynamics are expected to fuel sales growth as the year progresses, while ongoing inventory shortag- es continue to lift prices in much of the U.S., the National Association of Realtors said last month. "Some housing activity will be delayed un- til spring," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Washington, DC-based NAR. "At the same time, we can't ignore the ongoing headwinds of tight credit, limited inventory, higher prices and higher mortgage interest rates. These issues will hinder home sales activ- ity until the positive factors of job growth and new supply from higher housing starts begin to make an impact," Yun added. Resales, while down early in 2014, have been trending upward the past three years (see related graphic at right). APPLIANCE SHIPMENTS Domestic shipments of ma- jor home appliances began 2014 with a modest gain, rising 2.1% in January over shipments in January 2013, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manu- facturers. The Washington, DC-based AHAM reported last month that January 2014 appliance shipments totaled 3.88 million units, up from the 3.80 million units shipped in January 2013. CABINET & VANITY SALES Sales of kitchen cabinets and vanities, after posting a 20.7% gain in 2013 over sales in 2012, opened this year on a continued upward path, the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association said last month. According to the Reston, VA-based KCMA, manufacturers participating in the association's monthly "Trend of Business" survey re- ported that, in January 2014, sales of cabinets rose 16.9% over the same month in 2013. Sales of stock cabinets gained 13%, while semi-custom cabinet sales rose 18.2% and custom cabinet sales were up 33.3%, the KCMA said. Early-Year Setback Termed Weather-Related MARKET ANALYSIS Washington, DC — Architec- tural frms with a residential specia li zat ion, including those active in kitchen and bathroom renovation, contin- ued to experience increased billings in January – and most companies surveyed foresee continued growth in both revenue in staff- ing throughout 2014, the American Institute of Archi- tects reported last month. According to the latest survey conducted by the Washington, DC-based AIA, fully half of the architec- ture frms polled indicated that they anticipate gross revenue at their firm will increase this year, as com- pared to 2013. Less than a quarter of responding frms (22%) anticipate that rev- enue will decline, while the remaining 28% expect rev- enue to be about the same in 2014. To keep up with this ex- pected increase in business, nearly four in 10 frms plan to add positions in 2014, the AIA noted. And, in a change from recent years, when the use of part-time and contract employees had been popular, frms anticipate that 82% of the new positions will be full time, compared to only 8% part time, and 10% contract employees, the trade associa- tion added. Sales of both new and existing homes continued in 2013 to exhibit signs of a sustainable rebound after dipping to historic lows during the recent housing downturn. Although weather-related issues dampened housing activity in the early months of 2014, analysts point to low interest rates, afordable home prices and a healing economy as the key factors unleashing pent-up demand and fueling a continuing recovery. THE LATEST TRENDS IN NEW- AND EXISTING- HOME SALES Source: National Association of Home Builders 374,000 4,329,000 321,000 306,000 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 4,278,000 368,000 4,661,000 430,000 5,073,000 NEW-HOME SALES 4,183,000 EXISTING-HOME SALES KBD_8-9_BarCBT.indd 8 3/14/14 9:11 AM

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