Housing starts finish year on an off note
If housing starts are going to gain 20% in 2011 as recently predicted, they’re going to have to pick up the pace.
Data released Wednesday morning show housing starts in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 529,000 — that’s down 4.3% from November and down 8.2% from the December 2009 rate.
For the full year, the total number of starts finished at 598,200, slightly ahead of 2009’s record low of 583,000.
Single-family homes — the bread and butter of builders and dealers who serve them — were at a pace of 417,000 in December, down 9% from the downwardly revised November figure. The 417,000 pace is the lowest since April 2009, when single-family starts were crawling at a rate of 386,000.
The 529,000 rate is the lowest since October 2009. Clearly, these were not the numbers home channel industry executives were looking for. Analysts were surprised, as well — economists at Briefing.com had expected the rate to be in the 565,000 neighborhood.
However, a bright spot appeared in the measure of building permits for December, which jumped 16.7% to 635,000. Single-family building permits were at a rate of 440,000, up 5.5%.
At the International Builders’ Show last week, economists from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Freddie Mac forecast a 20% increase in residential construction in 2011.
Now in Canada: AZEK building products
Canada has emerged as a hot destination for home channel expansion. The latest company to enter the massive northern market is Scranton, Pa.-based AZEK Building Products.
The manufacturer of trim, molding, decking and railings will partner with PrimeSource Building Products Canada for complete national two-step distribution across Canada.
Rick Corry, VP sales for AZEK, announced the PrimeSource Building Products Canada agreement Tuesday. “As the manufacturer of high quality building products, we depend on premium distribution partners to assist in our downstream channel sales efforts," he said. "With PrimeSource’s recent acquisition of Langtry Industries, AZEK Building Products will be available across Canada.”
Mike Gibson, VP Canada for PrimeSource, views this partnership arrangement as a strategic move by both companies. Not only will AZEK have nationwide distribution, according to Gibson, it will be able to tap into a dedicated group of primary demand specialists that will strengthen the brand across all product lines.
The AZEK-PrimeSource partnership follows by about a month a deal that brought Memphis-based distributor Orgill to Canada. Orgill partnered with Mississauga, Ontario-based Castle Building Centers to fully integrate Canada into Orgill’s core business.
On Jan. 13, Atlanta-based Home Depot announced a new president of its Canadian division — Aaron Carmack. Also, Target Corp. made Canada its first-ever foreign expansion when it acquired some 220 Zellers discount department stores.
Royal Group announces promotions
Royal Group, a manufacturer of decking, trim, pipe and other building materials, has announced a series of promotions in its pipe systems division.
Chad Hall has been named western regional sales manager for electrical fittings in the United States. Prior to joining Royal Group as regional sales manager in November, Hall held several sales positions at Southwire Com., most recently sales manager. Based in Denver, Hall brings 16 years of sales experience in the electrical industry.
Steven Piper was appointed national specification manager for Canada, a position he began on Nov. 1. He is responsible for product specifications and will be working with city planners and engineers. Prior to joining Royal Group, Piper was president of Piper Technical Services and a specification engineer for Harrington Corp.
Alice Tourout is the company’s new customer service director for the Pipe division in North America. She most recently worked at Brenntag Inc., where she was responsible for customer service and business process improvements.
Based in Woodbridge, Ontario, Royal Group is a subsidiary of Georgia Gulf Corp., which makes a variety of remodeling and new construction products, including siding, deck, fence and rail, trim and moldings, pipe and fittings, and window and door profiles.