With the good news regarding April’s surge in multi-family construction, one naturally begins to wonder if other key indicators are as encouraging. Here are a few other things to consider:
The National Association of Realtors reports that existing home sales went up for the first time this year. April saw a modest gain in single family home sales, up .5% from the prior month (4.06 million). Putting things in perspective, that's still 7.7% below last year's pace. May's figures are not yet available.
Detroit is undergoing a building renaissance. Or so says Chris Fisher, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan. Fisher says he's seeing more and better construction jobs in downtown Motor City due to a $140 million M-1 Rail project and the renovation of the David Whitney building among other things.
A WDMA study expects continued growth for the window and door industry. In 2013, approximately 44.5 million units were shipped, representing growth in the residential window market of 10% for the year. Furthermore, sales of energy efficient doors and windows will pick up steam in 2014. The study suggests growth of approximately 23% this year, slowing down but maintaining a steady pace of growth beyond 2014.
The construction industry added 6000 jobs in May. The industry's unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest May level since 2008 and currently stands at 8.6%.
Multi-family construction hasn't peaked yet. Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), expects the upturn in multi-family construction to continue into next year, even after the huge gains made in April.
Despite the national trend, Minnesota's construction unemployment actually went up. Job claims went up in May, bringing the state's unemployment for the construction industry to a stubborn 7.2%.
One must also consider the current housing surge in Canada and the UK, both currently growing at a rapid pace - so much so that there is a shortage of qualified workers in the UK. They've begun looking abroad for labor help. Surely, they'll also look abroad for well-made doors, windows and other building materials.
All things considered, I choose to be cautiously optimistic.
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.