Each month we follow the ups and downs in the housing market, most often comparing monthly starts to a period years ago when the market bottomed out. However, when compared to the boom years, the numbers are quite sobering. So which measuring stick should we be using to place today’s housing market in its proper perspective? And where does this leave manufacturers and suppliers of building materials, weatherstripping and other peripheral providers?
Let’s start with the most obvious indicator, home sales. Forecasts suggest sales will inch up to over $5 million in 2014 and $5.3 million in 2015. While this is well short of the totals reached at the peak of the housing boom (sales peaked at nearly $6.5 million in 2006), it is unrealistic to suggest that this level is sustainable at any point.
The National Association of Realtors provides numbers on the median home price, another possible indicator of the new normal. They report that the US median home price rose to $197, 100 last year. The median price in 2006 was $230,000.
The national LMI is yet another measuring stick. Using data from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, census, and Freddie mac, the LMI tracks housing activity in over 300 metropolitan areas. Its January 2014 report suggested that the national economy is at about 86% of normal.
The National Association of Home Builders is often a trusted source for this type of information. NAHB Chairman Rick Judson is on record stating that markets are “slowly returning to normal levels”. However reassuring, these vague statements can make it difficult for manufacturers of entry door systems or building suppliers to forecast demand for the coming year. After all this new information I’m still left with the same question.
So what is the new normal?
Endura Products, Inc. manufactures entry door component systems that improve door construction, door installation and long-term performance in the home. Endura components improve functionality, maximize the seal between the door and the opening, and reduce air and water infiltration.