Living On the Edge

I heard a song the other day I hadn’t heard in a long time—probably 10 years or more. It’s an Aerosmith song and the opening line is: “There’s something wrong with the world today. I don’t know what it is.” The latter half of that lyric resonated with me, most likely because of what I was working on: our latest annual forecast. That’s not to say something’s wrong with the world these days (I’m not into fabricating doomsday messages), but it fit the mystery of my research findings.

I consider this article to be one of my most important each year, as it gathers high-level research and expert predictions to hopefully shed some light on the road ahead for door and window companies. I’m fortunate to have some outstanding economists in my contacts who are always there for me, come December, and willing to weigh in. As we discuss areas such as housing, interest rates, construction and the economy, their opinions aren’t always in perfect harmony, but they typically offer plenty of consensus from which to draw on. Not this year. I think that’s why the mystery embedded in Aerosmith’s lyrics sounded on time and made sense.

Searching for What’s Next

After hearing about a possible recession for a good solid year now, and a housing market that seems to be lying in wait of better interest rates, there’s no shortage of questions about how things might turn out in 2023. Will the economy enter a recession? If so, how bad will it be? Are we already in a recession? Will the housing market hold up, or will most buyers and builders stay on the sidelines? This year, it seemed that for every expert I found there was yet another take.

One analogy I heard that seemed to make sense likens the economy to a race car. And while there’s never just one “person” behind the economic wheel, for at least the past couple of years, the primary driver has clearly been the Federal Reserve. When the economy shut down over COVID-19, then reopened, the “Feds” quickly grabbed the wheel and ran our economic engine at full throttle by lowering interest rates. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is a powerful machine and if you’ve ever put the “pedal to the metal” in a fast car, then you know how scary this can be. Will the car lose traction and spin out? Will the engine blow, bringing it to a screeching halt? I feel like we’ve been asking these questions (metaphorically at least) for two years. Now the Federal Reserve has dialed the throttle back with interest rates above 6%, leaving us to wonder: Will housing coast to a temporary stop? That’s the question we look to answer on p24. As Aerosmith put it, “We’re living on the edge,” but spoiler alert: Economists think we’ll be just fine.

In less controversial areas of the magazine, you’ll find plenty of other good news to warrant a happy new year, including [DWM]’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards on p30. This year, we must have found readers in the holiday spirit, because participation in our survey was at an all-time high.

On p34, you’ll also find a preview for the upcoming International Builders Show—proof that no matter where we stand with the economy, door and window manufacturers are entering the year running full steam ahead.

Lastly, while our annual outlook article sheds light on the economy and housing, on p26 you’ll find a preview for one of the industry’s top predictors for door and window demand: a preview of Key Media & Research’s annual Door and Window Forecast. For this, we’re lucky to have a top expert under hood, Nick St. Denis, KMR’s director of research.

In all, I think you’ll find plenty of accurate predictions to go on. These days, we might be living on the edge, but one thing those predictions make certain is-it won’t last long.

Drew Vass is the executive editor for [DWM] magazine.

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

DWM Magazine

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