A Boost in Confidence?
Single-family home sales were up 1.3 percent for the month of October. Builder confidence, as measured by NAHB, has increased slightly each of the past two months. Challenges persist in the housing market, says David Crowe, NAHB's chief economist, but he also predicts "modest, gradual" improvements heading into 2012.
Are positive numbers trickling into your business yet? Are you feeling more confident about window and/or door sales? I thought I'd use this week's poll to find out.
And, of course, we'd like to hear from you. If you've seen improvements in past few months, let us know. Are they coming from specific markets? Regions? Products? We do hear some success stories–see this week's news from Western Window Systems–and we'd love to hear more. Unfortunately, however, a lot of the feedback we've received from the industry heading into 2012 has been more cautious than confident. Post a comment and tell us what you see happening.
Survey Results as of 12/13/2011 :
Has your business seen signs of "modest, gradual" improvement?
A small majority of readers say yes. That doesn't equate to a resounding cheer that times are getting better, certainly, but it's more positive than the feedback we've seen in a lot of economic polls we've done over the past year or so.
And it's not just NAHB or Window & Door seeing these modest improvements. Small-business optimism is on the rise, according to the National Federation of Independent Business' latest index, which was up for the third consecutive month in November. That index is still at weak levels, but officials suggest, optimism appears to have climbed because fewer owners expect business conditions or sales to be worse in six months, indicating some hope on the horizon.
“We have good reason to be optimistic about last month’s report and hopeful about what it means for the future," says Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB chief economist. "Still, our current reality is still very much the ongoing economic winter. November’s reading is still well below the average reading prior to 2008 levels from previous recoveries. More acutely, it is 2 points below January’s index, which means that there has been no progress over the calendar year. We should be encouraged, but cautiously so.”
I don't see that caution disappearing in the window and door industry–and that is wise, no doubt. But I'll take this small bit of good news heading into the holidays. I'd like to wish you all the best for 2012.