WDMA Execs Confirm Growth

Window & Door
October 8, 2013
Meetings & Events

Last Wednesday in Cambridge, Mass., CEOs from the major window and door manufacturing companies got statistical confirmation that new construction is back in double-digit growth for the first time since 2005.  

The WDMA Executive Management Conference executives gathered on Harvard’s doorstep for the second year to hear experts on a range of business-focused topics.  Keynote speaker, Luke Williams, professor of innovation at New York University School of Business, advised the implementation of disruption to cope with today’s rapidly changing world.  “We’re beyond uncertainty now and into ambiguity,” he said, noting the pace of disruptive change that started in tech is happening everywhere.  Luke cited several relatively sudden business failures, such as RIM/Blackberry’s demise, to illustrate the need to break patterns and cultivate a disruptive thinking process. 
Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Hanley-Wood, provided a new home, remodeling and retrofit outlook that showed demand solidly returning to the housing market.  New home sales are projected to grow by 20 percent in 2014 over this year.  The remodeling market, which was the focus of survival during the building industry’s decline, is forecast to have a solid 2013 with 7 percent growth this year.    Other trends:
·         Homes are getting bigger again, which means more windows and doors
·         New home market is shifting upscale ($350,000-$650,000) as share of lowest priced homes (under $150,000) is dropping
·         Larger builders are spending on land development again, for the first time in eight years
·         Builder’s profits are up 200 basis points; they are making money
·         We’re seeing a lag-time between starts (defined as when a builder breaks ground on a home) and completion of 12 months; this span used to be nine months
·         Normal percentage of new home turnover is at historical lows
·         Foreclosures are diminishing each month; the foreclosure “crisis” is over
·         Multifamily will not grow like single family
·         Labor is tightening but isn’t considered a top issue—out of 20 factors impacting business, labor ranked #7 on a recent survey of construction owners
John C. Goodman, president & CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, zeroed in on third-party payment systems as the heart of the problem with Obamacare.  He prescribed market forces as the means to reduce costs in the bloated system and predicts the rise of concierge doctors for the wealthy.
WDMA holds its Spring Meeting & Annual Legislative Conference in Arlington, Va., March 31-April 2, 2014.