NAHB forecasts 20% growth in starts
Orlando, Fla. — The annual Housing and Economic Outlook at the 2011 International Builders’ Show had some relatively good news for attendees.
A disappointing 2010 is expected to serve as a platform for a take off in 2011, according to David Crowe, chief economist and senior VP at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Crowe and the NAHB forecast 708,000 total housing starts this year, up about 20% from an estimated 589,000 in 2010. The NAHB expects single-family housing starts to increase 21% to 575,000.
Crowe pointed to housing affordability, demographic forces and pent-up demand as three key factors that will affect growth residential construction. "It’s only so long that a 30-year old can live in his mom’s basement," he said.
Crowe’s forecast was backed by a second economist on the panel, Frank Nothaft, chief economist for Freddie Mac. Nothaft sees the economy as "strengthening and accelerating" in 2011. The Freddie Mac economist also forecast unemployment to finish 2011 at the 9.0% level, down from the current 9.4%.
Disruptive weather prevented a third economist, David Berson of the PMI Group, from arriving in Orlando in time for the session.
Hearthstone Homes to use Typar Fiberweb
Omaha, Neb.-based HearthStone Homes has named Typar Fiberweb as its new housewrap in accordance with its commitment to build only Energy Star-qualified homes.
The company said it chose the housewrap manufacture after an evaluation of Typar’s performance data and Fiberweb’s manufacturing processes.
“Fiberweb is extremely well versed in helping builders create Energy Star homes, and we are confident Typar will enhance what we are doing to address air infiltration,” said Scott Kinkaid, VP innovation at HearthStone Homes. “When we toured their facility, it was evident that they weren’t simply accepting that they had a good product, but were instead constantly looking for ways to make it even better.”
HearthStone Homes now uses the Typar Weather Protection System as part of the strategy to make its homes more energy efficient.
NLBMDA seeks congressional aid in lead debate
The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association has asked Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to conduct an investigation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.
The NLBMDA has asked Rep. Issa, the new chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to also look into several OSHA proposals for consideration by the committee.
According to the NLBMDA, Issa recently sent a letter to 150 companies, trade associations, think tanks and scholars in mid-December asking them to come up with a list of the most onerous existing and proposed federal rules and regulations that are hurting job creation and economic growth. The NLBMDA wrote back to Issa regarding the EPA Lead Rule, which continues to create turmoil in the installed sales business and with many dealers’ customers.
"We thank chairman Issa for reaching out to the business community and providing a platform for us to finally air our concerns and frustration with the burdensome EPA Lead Rule," said NLBMDA chairman Joe Collings, CEO of Ferguson Lumber in Rockville, Ind. "With the home remodeling market serving as a lifeline for many in the industry, the EPA Lead Rule continues to wreak havoc in the marketplace, while new EPA proposals to impose clearance testing requirements under the rule and expand it to commercial construction will only exacerbate the problems."
The NLBMDA, in a separate letter, also asked Issa’s committee to review three OSHA proposals that they say have the potential for negatively impacting dealers without improving workplace safety. The new OSHA proposals include: initial efforts to develop a combustible dust standard for general industry; a proposal that would mandate a standard for employers’ safety and health programs, referred to as an Injury and Illness Prevention Program; and an effort to revise its noise reduction requirements.