An Oxymoron of Sorts

Industry is Optimistic

By Tara Taffera

If you follow the DWM daily e-newsletter (you can subscribe, and the national housing numbers that come out monthly, you know that the market is at somewhat of a standstill. With a slowdown for 2019 quickly moving from predicted to eminent, the question then becomes: How long will it last?

DWM editor Drew Vass does a great job laying out much of the data and the future of the housing market in the article on page 26. This also takes a look at a trend toward resilient design, that could, perhaps, propel the industry forward.

The current data seems to present two stories. While some shows builder confidence slipping and housing numbers flattening, others show an opposing side—a more human one at that. Research conducted by DWM’s parent company shows that door and window manufacturers and dealers hold positive outlooks for 2019. From expansions to new products, that sentiment is already showing up, just days into the new year.

According to the 2019 Door and Window Benchmark Report produced by Key Media and Research, door and window companies attribute the state of the economy as a whole and confidence among consumers as key drivers in the market and their decisions. Nearly nine out of ten manufacturers categorize the current business environment as either very favorable or somewhat favorable, and most anticipate an increase in production in 2019. Door and window dealers, meanwhile, collectively expect sales increases in 2019, in similar fashion to 2018.

Why are manufacturers optimistic? One survey respondent said, “The introduction of Chinese tariffs has brought us new business from distributors that are trying to avoid the price increases that have followed suit.” Another said the trend toward “automation is increasing capacity,” thus allowing more production—which could lead to sales—of doors and windows.

Dealers are optimistic for other reasons, which essentially comes down to the fact that they continue to stay busy! In fact, their comments use words like “booming economy,” “quoting projects for next year,” and “pent-up demand,” no signs of slow-down in this segment” and “hurricane awareness.” As housing slows, this is one area in which labor shortages could actually have a slight upside, by releasing pent-up demand.

Yes, both groups do have concerns as well—things like increasing costs of goods, trade wars and issues related to economic uncertainty.

How 2019 fares will perhaps be a mix of data and human predictions from those who work in this industry daily. Maybe it will even exceed expectations. Whatever the outcome, I know you will be ready.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

DWM Magazine

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