Remodeling index flat during sluggish economic recovery
Just a few days following a Joint Center for Housing Studies report pointing to the promise of remodeling, the latest National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index (RMI) remained essentially unchanged at 40.8 in the third quarter, compared with 40.7 in the second quarter.
An RMI below 50 indicates that more remodelers report that market activity is declining than report that it is increasing; so, on balance, it was the sentiment of remodelers that the market was still declining in the third quarter. The RMI has been running below 50 since the final quarter of 2005.
The overall RMI combines ratings of current remodeling activity with indicators of future activity like calls for bids. In the third quarter, the RMI component measuring current market conditions climbed to 43.4 from 42.6 in the previous quarter. The RMI component measuring future indicators of remodeling business declined marginally, to 38.1 from 38.9 in the last quarter. Again, index numbers below 50 mean that a preponderance of remodelers are reporting declining conditions.
“Consumers remain cautious about spending due to uncertainty in the economy, high unemployment and scarce credit,” said NAHB Remodelers chair Donna Shirey, a remodeler from Issaquah, Wash. “Homeowners may be looking at remodeling, but they are scared to take the leap.”
The current conditions indices for the remodeling market remained stable in three regions: Northeast, 41.6 (from 41.4 in the second quarter); Midwest, 44.9 (from 44.7); and South, 42.3 (from 42.4). The West showed more improvement with a jump to 49.3 (up from 42.0). Major additions increased modestly to 45.8 (from 44.2), as did minor additions to 46.4 (from 45.8) and maintenance and repair to 37.1 (from 36.6).
The indices for future remodeling business stayed mostly level. Calls for bids slipped to 42.9 (from 46.2). Work committed for the next three months grew to 30.3 (from 27.9). The backlog of remodeling jobs dipped to 37.2 (from 37.7), and appointments for proposals declined to 41.9 (from 43.7).
EPA seeks input on new formaldehyde regs
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it is forming an “advocacy review panel” of small business owners to focus on formaldehyde in the wood products industry. The advisory panel will help the agency prepare for the implementation of the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, enacted in July 2010. The new standards will establish formaldehyde limits for composite wood products (hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard and particleboard) so these products meet emission standards.
Formaldehyde is a known eye, nose and throat irritant, and in 1991, the EPA classified formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen. Formaldehyde-based resins are sometimes used as adhesives in composite wood products.
The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires the EPA to establish a federal panel for rules that may have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small organizations. The panel will include representatives from the Small Business Administration, the Office of Management and Budget, and the EPA. The panel will also ask a selected group of small entity representatives (SERs) to provide advice and recommendations on behalf of their company, community or organization to inform the panel on impacts of the proposed rule.
The EPA seeks self-nominations directly from the small organizations that may be subject to the rule requirements to facilitate the selection of SERs. Self-nominations may be submitted through epa.gov/sbrefa/formaldehyde.htm and must be received by Nov. 2, 2010.
Obituary: Carter Lumber’s Rollie Haring, 70
Long-time Carter lumber veteran and company executive Roland “Rollie” Haring died Oct. 24 at the age of 70.
“The Carter Lumber family of companies lost a good friend over the weekend as Rollie Haring passed away on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, after a courageous and hard-fought 16-month battle with pancreatic cancer,” read a statement from the company.
“In 1958, Rollie began his career with Carter Lumber unloading box cars in Medina, Ohio. After spending over 20 years in the stores, Rollie moved to the purchasing department at the corporate office. By combining his infectious personality with his negotiation skills, Rollie was soon promoted to VP purchasing. In addition to his work on the executive committee, Rollie was also a member of the board of directors and assumed other roles such as VP logistics, a position he held until his death.
“While at Carter Lumber, Rollie won the hearts and friendships of all who knew him, and he will be sorely missed.”
Haring’s obituary on Ohio.com describes him as a sports fan, a man with many friends in and out of the lumber industry, and a neighbor who embraced the tradition of Christmas with an impressive annual Christmas-lights display.
Rolland Edwin Haring was born Aug. 5, 1940, in Lodi, Ohio.