AddThis

HIRI takes the industry’s pulse

Since the beginning of the economic downturn, forecasts on housing starts, real estate sales and remodeling have gathered like a convention of fortune tellers. But only one crystal ball is focused solely on the home improvement industry and how consumers are spending — or not spending — money on their homes.

The Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI), headquartered in Tampa, Fla., is an independent, not-for-profit organization comprised of about 80 manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers and allied organizations in the home improvement industry. Once a month, HIRI holds its “Pulse of the Industry” webinar to provide the latest data and what implications it might have on its members. Listed below is a summary of August’s report, which bases its conclusions on statistics from various government agencies, trade groups, marketing research firms and academic think tanks. For more, visit HIRI.org.

Green lights

• Low mortgage rates and strong housing affordability could boost home sales.

• Backlog of remodeling jobs, low financing costs, stronger consumer confidence and stabilizing home prices point to an uptick in remodeling. Harvard Joint Center for Housing predicts double-digit growth by the first quarter of 2013.

• Retail sales are showing good growth for 14 straight months — with the exception of June.

 

Yellow lights

• Overall economic growth still at a modest pace

• Moderate rate of inflation

• Are housing prices truly stabilizing?

 

Red lights

• Consumer confidence up one month, down the next. “Consumers are very prone to the latest headlines,” said Fred Miller, HIRI’s managing director.

• There is no end in sight for foreclosures.

• Global instability — particularity events in Europe and the Middle East — could push the U.S. economy into another recession.

• Employment is growing, but not fast enough. “It continues to have an impact on the consumer psyche,” Miller said. 


Want to read more?
This content is available only to registered users. Log in to read the rest of this article or create a free account.
© 2014 Home Channel News. All Rights Reserved.