More Insights on 2012
As Window & Door prepared its annual forecast issue, industry executives shared their thoughts and predictions for the coming year in much more depth than could be gathered together in one article. In "More Insights on 2012," we present their detailed answers to questions about the coming year.
First, let’s start with the most general question for a forecast piece. What do you expect 2012? Will 2012 finally be “the year” we start seeing some turnaround, or is recovery further off than that?
While we know that the long-term prospects for the housing market are positive we are not expecting a significant recovery in either new construction or home improvement in 2012.
What do you expect the biggest challenges for the industry will be in 2012?
General economic conditions such as low economic growth, slow job creation, and high unemployment are dragging down consumer confidence and limiting the demand for housing. In addition, there are still a very large number of foreclosed properties on the market and while home prices have stabilized in recent months approximately 20 percent of households with mortgages are underwater. We believe that housing has hit bottom but we don’t expect significant improvement in 2012.
What will new construction look like in 2012?
We expect new construction to be flat in 2012 at about 600,000 building permits.
What about remodeling/replacement work? What is likely to drive business in this segment?
We also expect home improvement to be flat in 2012 with total home improvement expenditures at $111 billion.
What’s going to be happening with energy efficiency in the coming year? Is the industry focus on ramped-up Energy Star requirements? Are retail channels gaining traction with “whole home performance” efforts? Is the industry chasing triple panes and other means of better energy performance numbers?
Energy efficiency and sustainability are continuing to grow in importance in the window and door category and we have significant efforts underway bring more energy efficient products to the market through a variety of technologies including in some cases triple-pane glazing.
On a (hopefully) positive note, do you see any particular product segments or geographic regions outperforming the industry as a whole?
On the new construction side, we anticipate that Texas will remain one of the nation’s strongest housing markets and that on a national basis that the multifamily segment will remain stronger than the single-family segment.
How much of an impact does lending (or lack thereof) have on the business? The National Association of Home Builders is making financing-related discussions one of its top priorities this year—are they on the mark?
Financing is very important to the housing market, especially in new construction, and while access to credit has improved over where it was in 2009, it is still an issue for some homeowners. While nobody wants to return to the loose conditions that lead to the housing bubble, it is important that credit-worthy borrowers have adequate access to credit.
For those who are buying, what window and door products are they selecting? What features are important?
We are increasingly recognizing that the window and door market is very diverse and that individual geographies, market segments, and price points all have different requirements. We are focused on delivering unique solutions for each customer based on their needs. In particular we are seeing increased variety in glazing options to suite various climates and performance requirements (SmartSun™, PassiveSun™, Stormwatch™, triple pane) and we are responding to the trade and homeowners desire for a wider variety of options (exterior colors, interior finishes, hardware, grilles, screens, etc.) at all price points.
Window & Door's "More Insights on 2012" also features questions and answers about the coming year from the following people:
- Jason Funk, Western Window Systems
- Filip Geeraert, Deceuninck North America
- Michael Hovan, Quanex Building Products
- Greg Irving, Soft-Lite LLC
- Keith Kometer, Masonite
- Keith Juhola, ODL Inc.
- Todd Metz, Timeline Vinyl Products/Lincoln Windows
- Brian Miller, ProVia
- Gary Pember, Simonton Windows
- Dave Randich, Therma-Tru Doors
- Robert Schindler, Associated Materials
- Scott Thomsen, Guardian Industries
- Todd Woods, Window World