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Morgan Stanley predicts a jump in starts

BY HBSDealer Staff

Looking ahead to 2016, a Morgan Stanley analyst believes household formations will push total housing starts to the neighborhood of 1.3 million – up about 18% from 2015’s total.

Egan revealed his forecast during a recent webinar hosted by Morgan Stanley and HomeSphere. Egan’s title includes that of co-head of US Housing Strategy for Morgan Stanley.

What’s not to like about a near 20%-growth forecast? In an industry where single-family starts are the bread and butter, starts are expected to be heavy on the multi-family side.

Historically, single-family starts have accounted for around 80% of all housing starts. Last year, the share slipped down to about 65%, and that ratio is likely to continue.

“Looking at 2016, continued household formations are going to drive the need for higher housing starts,” Egan said. “And we believe they'll approach 1.3 million. However we believe the rate will  be skewed toward multi family, and project the ratio to remain right around 35% multi-family, 65% single-family.”

Morgan Stanley also anticipates the following in 2016:

• Household formations of 1.25 million to 1.3 million;

• Home price appreciation of positive 3%;

• New home sales in the 575,000 to 600,000 range

• Existing home sales of 5.25 million to 5.5 million.

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Lowe’s taps a new chief human resources officer

BY HBSDealer Staff

Lowe's Companies has named Jennifer Weber chief human resources officer, to take over from Maureen Ausura, who is retiring after 11 years with the company.

Effective March 1, Weber will take over for Ausura and begin reporting to chairman, president and CEO Robert Niblock.

In her new role, she will oversee global human resources practices, policies and operations that involve talent acquisition and retention for Lowe's.

She joins Lowe's from Duke Energy, where she was serving as executive VP and chief human resources officer, and as executive VP external affairs & strategic policy.

Weber has more than 20 years of experience in human resources strategy, compensation and benefits, leadership development, strategic communications and change management experience in a variety of business sectors.

"Jennifer has a proven track record of developing human resources strategies that have helped companies deliver on their goals while building a pipeline of future leaders," said Niblock. "We look forward to her joining Lowe's and continuing to build a customer-centric culture."

"At the same time, we thank Maureen for her dedication to the company and leadership during the past 11 years. Maureen has been instrumental in helping transform the organization from a single channel home improvement retailer to an omni-channel home improvement company.  We wish Maureen all the best in her retirement," Niblock concluded.

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LP launches FlameBlock I-Joist

BY HBSDEALER Staff

LP Building Products has launched the LP FlameBlock I-Joist in an effort to help builders comply with new fire codes.

"From architects to builders the building industry is faced with adapting to new fire codes, and the LP FlameBlock I-Joist meets both the 2012 and 2015 IRC codes,” said Lisa Reese, EWP marketing associate for LP Building Products. “Moreover, this new product brings the demonstrated performance of LP FlameBlock to the line of LP SolidStart products to further enhance the performance and innovation that builders and homeowners have come to expect from LP.”

Through the addition of a non-combustible Pyrotite coating to an LP SolidStart I-Joist, the new product is a response to the latest “Fire Protection of Floors” section of the 2012 IRC (R501.3).

“In addition to the fire-resistant characteristics, this product was designed with ease of installation in mind," added Reese. "Uniform properties allow the joist to be installed with either flange up, and it fits in commonly available hangers. The 2-1/2˝ wide flange offers easier handling and more nailing/glue surface, and a thicker web makes floors feel firmer.”

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