Sales for 2012 are expected to match or beat 2011 figures. That is the consensus of a majority of representatives from the major woodworking markets.
That optimism is backed by recent projections by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and other groups for gains in new housing activity and remodeling projects for 2012. NAHB is forecasting that new home sales will rise 18 percent in 2012.
In a recent statement, NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe noted, “The three-month moving average for new-home sales and numerous other indicators — such as builder confidence, new building activity and the razor-thin inventory of new homes for sale -- show that the market is basically holding its own, and no longer moving backwards. However, many of the same challenges that builders have cited in the past continue to pose obstacles to the market’s advancement, including buyers’ inability to sell an existing home, consumer concerns about job security, and tight credit conditions for both building and buying new homes.”
Crowe added, “The residential remodeling market has been improving gradually, mirroring the trend in other segments of the housing market. Stringent lending requirements and economic uncertainty continue to be a drag on demand, but we expect a modest growth in remodeling activity to continue throughout 2012.”
Read what the representatives of woodworking market segments had to say:
• Cabinet Sales Hold Steady: Dick Titus, executive vice president of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Assn. (KCMA)
• Retail Environments Continue to Rebound: Klein Merriman, executive director of the Association for Retail Environments (A.R.E.)
• Architectural Woodworking Staying Steady: Matt Lundahl, Meyer and Lundahl Manufacturing Co. and president of the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI)
• Modest Growth in 2012 for Residential Furniture: Andy Counts, CEO of the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA)
• Slight Dip for Office Furniture Industry: Tom Reardon, executive director of the Business & Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Assn. (BIFMA)
• Moderate to Good Wood Component Sales: Steve Lawser, executive director of the Wood Component Manufacturers Assn. (WCMA) and Phil Bibeau, executive director of the Wood Products Manufacturers Assn. (WPMA)
• Modest Upswing for Engineeered Panel Industry: Tom Julia, president of the Composite Panel Assn. (CPA) and Kip Howlett, president of the Hardwood Plywood Veneer Assn. (HPVA)
• Soft Improvement in Woodworking Machine Sales: Riccardo Azzoni, executive vice president of the Woodworking Machinery Industry Assn. (WMIA) and information from the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America (WMMA)
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