Can We Believe Good News?

Christina Lewellen
November 8, 2010

There's an interesting thing happening in our economy. A butting of heads, if you will. On one hand, there are some legitimately solid opportunities out there for some (not all—but some) consumers. Mortgage rates are crazy-low, housing affordability is surprisingly high and there are pockets of the economy that are doing fairly well, all things considered.

But here's the thing...on the other hand, we're incredibly hesitant to believe any good news. It's that dark shadow of consumer confidence. We're still just not ready to be confident about the future—not quite yet.

So this week, I'm running a little experiment. A few weeks back, Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Study released its prediction on where home improvement spending will go in 2011. It says we'll see double-digit increases at an annual rate through the first half of the year. My question for you is simple: Do you believe it?  Will home improvement spending rise next year? Are you confident enough to believe a report that says you should be? Send an email or post a comment and let's Talk.


Survey Results as of 11/15/2010:

Are you confident enough to believe Harvard's home improvement predictions?










Oh my! It seems the overwhelming majority is just not ready to submit to the good news. This is pretty strange to me, actually. So many of you are hesitant to believe the Harvard report, and yet nobody sent me an email or posted below to share why.

Can you articulate it? Do you know why you feel this lack of confidence, or do you just default to the Great Recession mentality? 

Wayne Gorell, CEO of Gorell Windows & Doors (which, by the way, is having a record-breaking year), shares this:

"It's not just the Harvard report, the AAMA/WDMA Ducker report says the same thing. We are having the best fall we've had in over five years. The first quarter was OK to good, the second quarter and first two months of the third were awful, and then it turned on like a fire hose after Labor Day. None of us quite know why, but we'll take it."

"Yes, I expect next year to be good," he continues, "maybe even very good for our industry. There is lots of talk about home energy conservation, the housing market has bottomed, and people are staying in their homes and need to improve them. As the economy continues to recover energy prices will start creeping up and consumers know that, they know new windows are a smart investment for their homes, something you are paying for whether you do it or not. Once house prices stabilized, it took away the fear of investing in your home."

Mr. Gorell certainly maintains his confidence? Where is yours? Let's Talk.

Contact Christina Lewellen, senior editor, at

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From my perspective, the fenestration retrofit market will blossom for the next 4 years due to the fact of the housing surplus and banks seem to refuse to loan money to perspective buyers.  However, installation of new windows and sliding glass doors into old wall systems will present a water intrusion challange.

FMA will hopefully tackle that challange in late 2011 as soon as we complete the FMA/AAMA 100, 200, FMA/WDMA 250 and FMA/AAMA/WDMA 300 and 400 series of installation protocols.


Hope this e-mail finds you and your family well and Happy Thanksgiving!


Dick Wilhelm

Executive Director


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