Throwback Thursday: Thermostatic innovation
Long before the Nest Learning Thermostat warmed up the high end of the thermostat market, there was the Honeywell T800, carrying the flag of the "$200 electronic digital thermostat" that represented a "'revolutionary' concept in energy conservation."
And according to a Dec. 7, 1981 article in National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, it was a little ahead of its time, perhaps.
The article, "Mfrs. simplify new generation of thermostats," raised the issues of ease-of-use vs. energy savings, and sticker shock vs. lifetime ownership costs — these issues continue to play out in the thermostat aisle.
At the Honeywell Residental Controls Center, the plan was to move away from the electronic T800 model that retailed for $199.99, toward an easier to use and less expensive CT400.
The T800 was a groundbreaker, But, according to a department manager at a New Jersey Rickel's, "You'd have to be an engineer to handle one."
Similar criticism has been directed toward the Nest product in 2016.
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For Millennial homeownership, eastern states rule
It's well-established that young homeowners have come later to the household formation party than elder generations. Low housing supply levels, rising home prices, recession hangover, and slow wage growth all contribute to this dynamic, which doesn't take into account generational shifts in lifestyle choices and crippling student debt.
However, data from Meyers Research suggests that when they do eventually settle down, millennials tend to settle in eastern states, but, unsurprisingly, not necessarily in expensive coastal cities.
According to the firm, the homeownership rate for those under 35 peaked at 44% in 2004. Today, it stands at 35% on average, a number that reaches as high as 41% in Charlotte, N.C.
The highest homeownership rates for those aged 25-34 include these markets, in descending order: Charlotte, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Denver, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Columbus, and Phoenix. The national average falls just behind the latter.
The six markets with lowest rates were all expensive coastal cities: Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego and Miami.
“To attract millennials to purchase a home, it’s all about providing a vibrant location and low maintenance product at the lowest price possible,” explained Shaun McCutcheon, Meyers' Charlotte-based Senior Manager. “We are starting to see builders enter higher priced neighborhoods with excellent schools by offering small lots/cluster product in order to keep costs down and attract Millennial buyers. An example of this is Sonoma by Shea Homes near Ballantyne, which is selling detached cluster product in the $300,000s at a sales pace of over three homes per month. An added bonus? The community offers free lawn maintenance for owners."
BMC Stock sees merger synergies come to life in Q4
BMC Stock Holdings, Inc. reported substantial year-over-year increases for the fourth quarter and full fiscal 2016 year, the majority of which was owing to synergies created by the merger of Stock Building Supply and BMC in December 2015.
For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2016, net sales were up 46.5% to $747.6 million. Adjusted net sales were up 2.7%.
Meanwhile, net income of $10.4 million represented an increase of $17.9 million over the same period last year, placing the company back in the black.
“Our merger, which we completed a little more than a year ago, unlocked numerous opportunities to expand the business and improve profitability," said president and CEO Peter Alexander. "During 2016, we achieved strong operational and financial results including significant gains in operating margins and cash generation."
For fiscal 2016, net sales of $3.1 billion were up 96.2%, and adjusted net sales were up 10.5%.
Full-year net income was $30.9 million, up $35.7 million from the previous year.
“In addition,” Alexander continued, “we made significant strides on our integration efforts and technology initiatives, including the achievement of $31 million in cost synergy savings in our 2016 operating results. Also, during the year, we rolled out ReadyFrame, our differentiated whole-house framing solution that assists professional builders and contractors to reduce their labor needs and shorten cash conversion cycles, to the remainder of our major markets. This product offering grew more than 46% during 2016 to over $100 million in sales. With a remarkably strong team in place and what I believe are the best products and solutions available to professional builders and remodelers in the residential homebuilding space, I am very optimistic about our prospects for 2017 and beyond.”
Referring to the company's outlook for 2017, he continued: "With a large portion of our merger integration efforts behind us, we are increasing our efforts to accelerate our growth strategy both through organic and inorganic means. We will continue to target opportunities that further enhance our value-added product offerings and/or expand our geographic footprint into attractive markets.”