Windows and doors group sees slight improvement to forecast
The Window & Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) and the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) have jointly released an August 2012 update to the 2011/2012 U.S. Industry Statistical Review and Forecast.
The updated study predicts a slight improvement in architectural door shipments in 2012 over earlier forecasts.
Nonresidential construction declined slightly in 2011 and is forecasted to continue to remain slow through 2012, tempering growth in the non-residential architectural interior door categories.
According to the updated study’s data, multi-family and single-family starts are expected to experience a slightly better increase than what was initially thought, up to 19% over 2011 with additional increases in 2013 and 2014. Residential improvement expenditures are expected to see a similar shift.
As of mid-year, residential skylights are tracking at a growth rate slightly higher than the 2011 volume. New construction skylight activity has proven to be greater than expected with double-digit growth percentages. Remodeling and replacement skylight activity has fallen behind initial expectations with only minor growth, though the replacement market is benefiting from weather-related replacement in the first half of the year.
The updated study continues to show little change in the segmentation for residential interior door material types over the next five years. However, significant volume is expected to return to the entry and interior door market as new construction demand is expected to grow at double-digit rates, outpacing remodeling and replacement activity as the housing market recovers.
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Meritage sees significant rise in home orders
Scottsdale, Ariz.-based home builder Meritage Homes Corp. said home orders are on the rise.
The company received orders for a total of 784 homes in July and August 2012, net of cancellations, compared with 590 net orders in the same two months of 2011, a 33% increase.
July orders of 374 homes in 2012 were up 17% over July 2011, while August orders of 410 homes in 2012 were 52% higher than August 2011.
As of June 30, 2012, the company had 151 actively selling communities in 15 metropolitan areas, including Northern California, East Bay/Central Valley and Southern California, Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Tucson, Las Vegas, Denver, Orlando, Tampa and Raleigh-Durham.
In 2012, Meritage also announced its entry into the Charlotte market.
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California passes new lumber tax
A proposed 1% additional sales tax on selected lumber products was signed into California law by Gov. Gerry Brown on Sept. 11, resulting in a transfer of fees from the timber industry to retail lumber sellers.
The new tax will be used to fund the regulatory activities of four state agencies involved in reviewing and monitoring timber harvest plans that are required for all private and public timber cutting. Currently, those costs are paid by the landowners and from state general fund expenditures.
The new tax originated with legislation supported by the California timber industry, which wanted the fees to be passed on to the end user to help level the playing field with timber producers outside California. These timber producers are not subject to California’s heavy regulations, it argued, and thus enjoy a competitive advantage. The new California law will also lessen wildfire liability for landowners, another cost saving.
Those who opposed the legislation — a group that included Home Depot, the National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA), and the West Coast Lumber & Building Materials Association (formerly the Lumber Association of California and Nevada or LACN) — believed that the timber industry should not shift the fees to its own customers.
“Those who are being regulated should pay their own fees and build that into the cost of production,” said Ken Dunham, executive director of the West Coast Lumber & Building Materials Association. Dunham also wondered how lumber retailers build a framework to collect taxes on lumber and engineered wood products by Jan. 1, 2013. “Sales tax in California does not break out lumber,” Dunham told Home Channel News. “The [independent lumberyards] say there is no way they can have the software in place in time.”
Lastly, there is the issue of exactly what “lumber products” and “engineered wood products” will be taxed. The California Board of Forestry & Fire Protection is scheduled to discuss this issue at a Sept. 12 hearing.
The new law does contain an unusual provision that promises to reimburse the retailer for costs associated with the costs of collection of the assessment. The amount and process will be determined by the State Board of Equalization. Dunham remained skeptical. “When is the check coming?” he asked.