Confident in the Economy?

Jenni Chase
January 7, 2014
THE TALK...
Sprinkled throughout nearly every 2014 housing forecast seems to be one word: “but.”
 
As in, “Housing starts have rebounded nicely, BUT rising mortgage costs and diminishing investor value will stall the pace of growth [in 2014].” ―Jeff Dietrich, senior analyst, ITR Economics
 
Or, “Residential starts continue to be positive, BUT are still well below where we think we need to be in terms of long-term needs, particularly with single family.” ― Bernard Markstein, chief economist, Reed Construction Data
 
Or (and this "but" is implied): “More markets are slowly returning to normal levels, and we expect this upward trend to continue as an improving economy and pent-up demand brings more home buyers back into the marketplace. [BUT], policymakers must be careful to avoid actions that would harm consumer confidence and impede the ongoing recovery.” ―NAHB Chairman Rick Judson
 
Housing forecasts across the board are positive for 2014. Economists continue to laud the residential segment as the leader of construction market growth, and single-family housing is expected to rise 26 percent in terms of dollars and 24 percent in terms of units this year, according to the 2014 Dodge Construction Outlook from McGraw Hill Construction.
 
So why the disclaimers when it comes to predicting positive market conditions for housing, and consequently, the window and door industry? Do they reflect a lack of faith in the overall economy?
 
Keenan Burns, COO and executive vice president of A.W. Hastings & Co., says he continues "to see opportunities for growth ranging from 10 percent to 15 percent in 2014," BUT still feels "that we are operating in a fragile market. There are a lot of external influences today—from Washington to employment and consumer confidence—and it wouldn’t take much to soften it," he says. "As an industry, we have to be careful not to assume that there is no chance of the economy being derailed."
 
What about you? How do you feel about the state of the overall economy? Are you confident it will continue to improve and fuel further growth in the housing market? Or are you concerned it will take another dive? Please share your thoughts by sending me an email or posting a comment.
 

Survey Results for 01/08/2014 :

How Confident Are you In the Health of the Overall Economy?

Fairly confident. I think we’re on the road to recovery, but there may be some bumps along the way

  

 

36.36%

 

Not confident at all

  

 

24.60%

 

Not very confident

  

 

21.93%

 

Confident. I believe we will continue to see improvement in 2014.

  

 

16.58%

Chase is editorial director of Window & Door, and its sister publication, Glass Magazine. Write her at jchase@glass.org.