Return of the multi-family market
A strong rebound in the apartment market is boosting multi-family construction, especially in certain parts of the country. Asking rents are up 2% from a year ago, according to RealFacts/Meyers, a real estate research firm specializing in the multi-family industry. Occupancy levels are also high, reaching levels seen in 2007.
Foreclosures dumped approximately 2.5 million households into the rental market, according to one estimate. Those who chose to “double up” with friends and family are now moving out. Gen Y is entering the work force. And many families and individuals are unable or unwilling to commit themselves to a real estate purchase.
Job growth is one of the primary factors in attracting investment dollars and multi-family building activity. Washington, D.C, the coastal areas of California, the Pacific Northwest, Boston, Dallas and Baltimore are in RealFacts/Meyers’ “Top Tier” markets.
In 2010, the nation saw 151,400 multi-family permits issued, a 7% uptick over the previous year, according to RealFacts/Meyers. The numbers for 2011 are projected to be only slightly higher. But in 2012, RealFacts/Meyers predicts more than 300,000 multi-family permits will be issued, and that number will keep climbing until it reaches 600,000 in 2014.
Barbecue grills by the numbers
Consumer research from Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group shows the market size for barbecue grills held steady at about $1.373 billion during 2011*, down 0.1% from the prior-year period.
Warehouse home centers clearly dominate the barbecue market, accounting for more than half of the sales.
In both the dollar share and unit share tables below, hardware stores seemed to make a nice jump in 2010 compared with 2009, but the stats slipped slightly in 2011.
Examining the various types of grills, gas grills showed the most growth over 2010 — a 2.5 percentage point increase in market share. Charcoal grills remained a steady second favorite at 36.3%. Single burners showed significant growth since 2009, perhaps indicative of a new frugality.
Older consumers and those in the Northeast and West regions are driving sales of barbecues in the 2011 period. And growth in the under-$15,000 income bracket could be a good sign for small, portable or tabletop grills.
Price and trusted brand are at the top of the “Reason for Purchase” list, for which consumers are asked to select the three top reasons why they purchased their barbecue grill once inside the store.
Consumers selected only one reason for the “Reason for Retailer Shopped” list. Here, brand/selection was the only purchase motivator to show an increase in 2010, compared with 2009, but it still lagged significantly behind “price” as a motivator.
Methodology: NPD data are based on monthly tracking of more than 30 home improvement-related categories and 30,000 opt-in consumers.
**WHC = warehouse home center; MM = mass merchant; DS = department store; SS = specialty store; HS = hardware store
*2011 data reflect the period June 2010 through May 2011.
Valspar launches allergy-friendly paint
Valspar Paint has rolled out Valspar Plus, certified asthma and allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
Valspar Plus reduces airborne irritants during painting, improving the painting process for those with respiratory sensitivities. In addition to having zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be a trigger for people impacted by asthma and allergies, Valspar Plus has no lingering odor. Once dried, the paint’s antimicrobial properties help it to resist mold and mildew.
"In listening to our consumers, we recognized an opportunity in the marketplace for a paint formulated specifically to address the needs of the approximately 60 million Americans who live with asthma and allergies," said Howard Heckes, senior VP, Valspar Global Consumer. "In response, we developed Valspar Plus, which allows people with respiratory sensitivities to connect to the transformative power in color."
Valspar Plus paint offers best-in-class performance and benefits, including long-lasting durability, stain resistance and thick, one-coat coverage backed by a lifetime warranty, the company said.