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Smart home revenue to reach $100 billion by 2020

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New data from Juniper Research has found that consumer spend on smart home services, including entertainment, health, energy and home automation will reach $100 billion by 2020, well over twice the estimated spend for this year, at $43 billion.

Entertainment services such as Netflix and Spotify are playing a key role in boosting the smart home market size, driven by a universal appeal, and the low cost of services. However, emerging smart home segments, such as home automation, are expected to begin catching up, driven by falling hardware costs and increased consumer awareness.

The research forecasts that the number of connected appliances in smart homes will rise to over 20 million by 2020. The market will continue to be characterized by high prices and a low value in connectivity. Consequently, while Samsung expects 100 percent of its portfolio to be connectable by 2020, the amount of consumers actually using these features is expected to remain relatively low.

Check out the full release here.


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October 29, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Expanded joint-employer standard will harm housing affordability, small businesses

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A recent ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to expand its joint employer standard will hurt housing affordability and small businesses, a prominent Texas home builder told Congress.

Testifying before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Ed Martin, president and CEO of Tilson Home Corp. and a past president of the Texas Association of Builders, called the new joint employer standard “alarming”.

“Businesses could be found to be joint employers of another company’s workers by merely setting the work schedule of their subcontractors or requesting additional subcontractors to complete a job that is running behind schedule,” said Martin. “There is no certainty or predictability regarding the identity of the employer under this new standard. It is fundamentally unrealistic.”

On August 27, the NLRB overturned decades of precedence in the case of Browning-Ferris Industries of California Inc. by dramatically expanding the traditional test for joint employer status in which a company must exercise “direct and immediate control” over an employment relationship.

Under the new joint employer standard adopted by the NLRB, a company could be considered a joint employer if it has indirect control or the potential to exercise control of a subcontractor’s employee’s employment, including hiring and firing, discipline, supervision, scheduling, and assigning work and determining the means and method of employment.

The new test leaves employers guessing over how much indirect control they must have over another employer’s workers to be considered a joint employer.

This is especially problematic for home building firms, which rely on an average of 22 subcontractors to build a typical single-family home.

“We question whether the simple act of choosing a project’s completion date would trigger a finding of joint employment,” said Martin. “For example, if Tilson Homes contracted with a painting company for a home in Austin, would we be prevented from telling the subcontractors when to paint the walls or even when the walls would be constructed? Would we be prevented from scheduling installation of the fire sprinklers or cabinets? Would the roof be completed in time for the codes inspector to visit?”


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October 27, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Mobile, “drop” houses keep seniors, disabled close to home

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Jesse Lammi, of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, has invented a new kind of housing designed to keep seniors and the disabled out of institutions, and closer to their family members.

The NextDoor house comes with a jack-up system that raises the house for highway travel, then lowers it for temporary parking on a driveway or lawn. It’s also handicapped accessible, and designed wheelchair users can move in without hassle.

Lammi thought of the idea after his grandfather fell off of a ladder, forcing him to recuperate in a nursing home.

“The whole purpose is to keep people out of institutions,” said Jesse Lammi of White Bear Lake as he gave a tour of his $50,000 NextDoor Homes unit.

Lammi and partner Jon Louiselle, who hope to begin manufacturing the NextDoor units this fall, already are renting out their first unit for about $1,000 a month.

Simply put, the unit is a cross between a Winnebago and assisted living — a 240-square-foot cottage mounted on wheels. The shingled roof is peaked, and the seven windows make it look open and inviting. A bump-up roof on one end accommodates a loft inside. It can be hauled by most pickup trucks.

By the press of a button, and in just 30 seconds, the whole house can be lowered 7 inches.

See the full story and pictures here:

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July 27, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Aging homeowners demand larger, more accessible homes

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As the housing market continues its recovery, homeowners are increasingly seeking more square footage while simultaneously looking for more accessibility inside and outside of the home.  These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the first quarter of 2015, which focuses specifically on overall home layout and the use of interior and exterior space.

All of the data can be accessed through AIA’s newly redesigned home design trends survey infographic.

“An increase in home square footage with the rising popularity of accessible design concepts points to a population that is preparing to age-in-place, or, perhaps, is anticipating responsibility for caretaking of older relatives in the future,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “As homeowners prepare to stay in their current homes, investment in outdoor living spaces has also increased.”

The survey further demonstrates gains across all major housing sectors, except for new construction.  “The lag in new construction, taken together with the increases in remodeling, may be another indicator of homeowners wanting to remain in their current residences for the long haul,” according to Baker.

Residential elements (% of respondents that reported increases) 2015 2014
In-home accessibility 70% 65%
Access in/out of home 59% 55%
Informal space 56% 52%
Open space layout 61% 50%
Single-floor plan 46% 47%
Volume 26% 28%
Square footage 20% 15%
Lot size 2% 3%

% of firms reporting “increasing” activity for that characteristic; Q1 2015

Residential elements (% of respondents that reported increases)                2015 2014
Outdoor living space 72% 69%
Low irrigation landscaping 61% 60%
Blended indoor / outdoor living 58% 56%
Outdoor features 21% 16%
Exterior / security lighting 36% 36%

% of firms reporting “increasing” activity for that characteristic; Q1 2015

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q1 2015 (any score above 50 is positive)

  • Billings: 66
  • Inquiries for new projects: 73
Specific residential segments*          2015 2014
Kitchen and bath remodeling 57 57
Remodeling additions / alterations 61 59
Custom / luxury home market 33 29
Move-up homes 30 27
Townhouse / condo market 15 15
First-time buyer / affordable home market 9 5
Second / vacation home market 1 -9

% of respondents reporting sector “improving” minus % reporting “weakening”; Q1 2015

More information can be found here.

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July 9, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Housing starts in U.S. surge to seven-year high

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New residential construction in the U.S. surged in April to the highest level in more than seven years, indicating the industry has moved beyond a weather-related soft patch to regain strength, Bloomberg Business reports.

Housing starts jumped 20.2 percent to a 1.14 million annualized rate, the most since November 2007, from a 944,000 pace in March, a Commerce Department report showed Tuesday in Washington. The median forecast of 83 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was 1.02 million. More permits, a proxy for future construction, were issued than at any time since June 2008.

An improving labor market and mortgage costs close to multiyear lows are reviving residential construction, a sign that the weakness in early 2015 was probably due to harsh winter weather. Builders including PulteGroup Inc. have said the spring selling season is off to a good start, and sentiment data for May showed developers are optimistic about the next six months.

“Housing demand is clearly picking up,” said David Sloan, a senior economist at 4Cast Inc. in New York, whose estimate for the level of starts was the closest in the Bloomberg survey. “Housing should show quite strong momentum over the next few quarters. Permits also suggest solid underlying demand.”

Stocks Hover

Stocks hovered near records and yields on Treasury securities rose as the rebound in housing bolstered speculation the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates this year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell less than 0.1 percent to 2,128.18 at 10:12 a.m. in New York. The S&P Supercomposite Homebuilding Index climbed 0.8 percent. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.28 percent from 2.24 percent late on Monday.

See the full story and video here:

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May 29, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Builder confidence in May 2014 down one point from April 2014

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Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes in May 2014 fell one point to 45 from a downwardly revised April 2014 reading of 46 on the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).

“After four months in which the HMI has shown little signs of fluctuation, it is clear that builder sentiment is becoming more in line with the market reality of a continuing but modest recovery,” said NAHB chairman, Kevin Kelly. “However, builders expressed some optimism that sales will pick up in the coming months.”

“Builders are waiting for consumers to feel more secure about their financial situation,” said NAHB chief economist, David Crowe. “Once job growth becomes more consistent, consumers will return to the market in larger numbers and that will boost builder confidence.”

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good rather than poor.

The index’s components were mixed in May 2014. The component gauging sales expectations in the next six months rose one point to 57, and the component measuring buyer traffic increased two points to 33. The component gauging current sales conditions fell two points to 48.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the South rose one point to 48, the Midwest fell one point to 47, the West posted a four-point drop to 47 and the Northeast held steady at 33.

Written by cabinettrends

June 10, 2014 at 7:00 am

U.S. housing starts drop in January 2014 with harsh winter weather

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U.S. housing starts in January 2014 saw the biggest drop in nearly three years as harsh winter weather was only partially to blame, according to a Reuters report, with this third month of permit declines pointing toward some weakness in the housing market.

“The housing sector already slowed down in the fourth quarter and it’s not picking up,” said Thomas Costerg, a U.S. economist at Standard Chartered Bank in New York. “There is more than the weather at play and the underlying dynamics are not as favorable as people thought they were.”

Groundbreaking dropped 16 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 880,000 units, the lowest level since September 2013, the Commerce Department said. The percentage drop was the largest since February 2011. Economists had expected starts to fall to only a 950,000-unit rate in January 2014.

Although there were hopes for strong growth in 2014, it appears fourth-quarter 2013 output was not as sturdy as initially thought after downward revisions to November 2013 and December 2013 retail sales figures and weak export growth in December 2013.

In January 2014, groundbreaking for homes in the Midwest fell a record 67.7 percent and fell 12.5 percent in the South. This drop indicated that the weather was to blame, giving economists some hope for a rebound, though starts could fall again in February 2014 as temperatures remain cold.

“To the extent that this plunge in home construction was due mostly to weather issues, we expect a strong rebound in activity in the coming months,” said Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities in New York

In the Northeast, which also saw cold temperatures and snow storms, groundbreaking for January 2014 hit its highest level since August 2008; while, in the West, housing starts fell despite warmer temperatures.

Some economists say this suggests weakening in housing market fundamentals, noting that home sales have been trending lower as higher mortgage rates and rising home prices deter potential buyers.

Investment in home building fell in the fourth quarter of 2013 for the first time since the third quarter of 2010.

Groundbreaking for single-family homes, the largest segment of the market, fell 15.9 percent to a 573,000-unit pace in January 2014 – lowest level since August 2012. Starts for the volatile multi-family homes segment dropped 16.3 percent to a 307,000-unit rate.

Permits to build homes fell 5.4 percent in January 2014, the largest drop since June 2013, to a 937,000-unit pace. Permits for single-family homes dipped 1.3 percent. Multi-family sector permits declined 12.1 percent.

Freezing temperatures also contributed to falling manufacturing output in January 2014 and were cited for the unexpected drop in retail sales in January. The weather was also largely blamed for the sharp slowdown in hiring in December 2013.

“The Fed is going to be talking about inflation, or lack thereof, a lot more in the months to come, unless we see a major warming in both the weather and the economy this spring,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago.

Written by cabinettrends

March 5, 2014 at 7:00 am

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