Expert sees positive signs, still
Nashville, Tenn. — A few months ago, John Burns described himself as a raging optimist. Today he’s just an optimist.
That was one of the observations from the real estate consultant’s presentation at the ProDealer Industry Summit. The fundamentals of the housing recover are solid, he said. But in the sales office, sales and bargains and price drops surged in September. A survey showed 10% of builders surveyed dropped prices, from zero in the previous month.
So much of the real estate market, of course, is regional. And the top three regions showing real estate strength are northern Florida, the Southwest and Southern California.
"I think the future for this industry looks bright," Burns said. The industry has moved ahead of retail distress and is looking ahead to normal levels of resale activity as construction increases steadily.
"Demand, supply and affordability fundamentals are solid, but trends are worth monitoring carefully," he said.
Burns attacked a couple of ideas — especially the idea that consumers are moving back to the cities, a myth he described as extremely "overhyped." The growth of the urban core, he estimated, as a mere 5% of overall housing growth. "The big growth is still in the suburbs."
Burns also suggested that people should ignore reports that smaller houses are gaining momentum. The reality is consumers want bigger houses, he said, and builders are naturally incentivized to build big houses.
The ProDealer Industry Summit, sponsored jointly by HCN and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, concludes Oct. 25.
Owens Corning’s insulation category finds Q3 success
Owens Corning reported growth across the board in the third quarter of 2013, especially in its insulation category, which delivered its best quarter in six years with a profitable year to date.
Net sales for the quarter were at $1.32 billion, up from $1.28 billion on a year-over-year basis.
The company reported net earnings of $51 million, compared with $44 million during the third quarter of 2012.
"We delivered improved year-on-year performance in each of our businesses," said Mike Thaman, chairman and CEO. "Based on our year-to-date performance, we are maintaining our outlook of at least $100 million of adjusted EBIT growth."
Thaman also noted that the company’s roofing business did well in terms of margins, with 20% EBIT margins on flat revenue. Meanwhile, insulation was at its ninth consecutive quarter of EBIT improvement. Composites didn’t fare as well, due in part to manufacturing performance and lower volumes, though they improved EBIT by $10 million over 2012.
The company expects a 2013 outlook of at least $100 million growth in adjusted EBIT.
BehrPro lends paint and volunteers in Greater Atlanta
BehrPro offered up 155 gallons of paint, as well as a team of 25 local volunteers, during the 2013 Hands on Atlanta Day on Oct. 5.
As the official paint sponsor and active participant in the event — which is dedicated to revitalizing various communities in Greater Atlanta — BehrPro teamed up with more than 7,000 other participants to help transform approximately 65 locations.
"We were honored to join the 23rd Annual Hands On Atlanta Day and be a part of the thousands of community members who donated time and labor to help restore the schools and nonprofits in need," said BehrPro sales representative Phillip Hayes, who led the volunteer efforts. "With BehrPro’s portfolio of high-quality products, Atlanta will receive the beautification it deserves, with lasting durability that requires less maintenance."
Hayes worked closesly with Raquel Hudson, associate director of corporate volunteerism at Hands on Atlanta, who was also in charge of selecting BehrPro as the exclusive paint and stain supplier, citing a good track record with the company during previous residential and commercial projects. BehrPro also provides professional services, such as jobsite delivery, factory tinting and expert advice.
"With the majority of Hands On Atlanta Day projects focused on restoring high-traffic areas, such as local schools or community centers, it was critical that the paint be durable enough to withstand consistent wear and tear," said Hudson. "However, it was important that the paint was easy for our volunteers — some of whom have limited experience with large-scale paint projects — to apply in a short period of time. We also prefer to use bright, vibrant colors to create uplifting and inviting environments. Fortunately, we were able to find a variety of products that met all the criteria through the BehrPro program."