Market Insights

  • Home remodeling to slow, says Harvard study

    Remodeling activity is expected to move at a sluggish pace this year due to the stalled housing market and economic recovery, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.
  • The ABCs of a Hall of Fame

    Lowe’s chairman emeritus Robert Strickland was inducted into the Home Channel Hall of Fame four years ago. As he approached the podium, he seemed as relaxed as you or I might be approaching the office microwave at lunchtime.

  • The toughness meter

    “There are no sissies left in this business.”
 That’s the official
  • January housing starts rise 14.6%

    Residential construction showed a rebound in January as housing starts improved to a pace of 596,000 -- a 14.6% increase over the downwardly revised December pace of 520,000. Compared with a year ago, total starts are down 2.6%, according to the Department of Commerce
  • D.C. Hotline: Pushing back

    With the elections over and the Republicans having gained the majority in the House and having made significant gains in the Senate, many in Washington have witnessed a change in the tone of legislative activity. 

  • Advanced monthly retail sales for December show gains

    The U.S. Census Bureau Even better news came from the comparison to last year -- December sales were up 7.9% from December 2009. And Total sales for the October through December 2010 period were up 7.8% from the same period a year ago.
  • Builder forecast: Chilly start, followed by tough conditions

    A just-released report on the homebuilding industry from Standard & Poor’s has predicted “tough conditions” and no major improvement over the remainder of the year in the U.S. homebuilding market.
  • Consumer Confidence at a three-year high

    The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index improved to a reading of 70.4, up from 64.8 in January.  The February reading is at a three-year high -- the highest since February 2008, when the index was at 76.4.
  • Unemployment rate falls to 9.0%

    The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 9.0 percent in January, while nonfarm payroll employment changed little (+36,000), the
  • The incredible, shrinking U.S. house

    The single-family home is getting smaller. Three-bathroom houses are on the decline. And most builders think the living room will merge or vanish by the year 2015.
  • Couples choosing grills, power tools in bridal registries

    A growing number of engaged couples are listing home-improvement products in their gift registries, according to a just released survey by On average, engaged couples register at three retail stores, and 3% of the respondents registered at Home Depot in 2010. This compares to 2% in 2009. 
  • Green all along

    Throughout the downturn of the last four years or so we have seen the lumber and building materials industry shrink dramatically. Some estimates of sales shrinkage at the dealer level put it beyond 50%. In some markets, that estimate is absurdly low.