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February 2013: From the Editor

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From the Editor

Jennifer Morrell

How’s this for good news: In 2013, economists are forecasting growth throughout the residential construction industry – all 50 states. Whether your focus is on residential or commercial building (or both), this should make you happy. Residential construction is finally experiencing an “official” turnaround, and commercial construction won’t be far behind, if history is any indicator.

The Portland Cement Association (PCA, www.cement.org) has released a new report projecting total housing starts to reach 954,000 units in 2013, reflecting further improvement on 2012’s nearly 30 percent growth.

The PCA added that even stronger growth in home building is predicted for 2014, with more than 1.1 million starts. According to the PCA, “The emergence of accelerating construction growth has begun to appear in some of the hardest-hit states during the housing bubble burst. These regions are now likely to lead growth in coming years as long-depressed markets begin to return to housing construction rates consistent with their demographics.”

It seems almost unimaginable that regions once lagging in recovery could, instead, become growth leaders. The Southwest and Southeast, says the PCA, still have the weakest housing fundamentals relative to the other lower 48 states, but on a “construction activity” basis, these states should become the nation’s leaders in residential construction growth.

Damaged credit from foreclosures and tight mortgage lending standards create significant apartment demand, so multifamily construction is on a continued growth pattern.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB, www.nahb.org) cites that home building actually is contributing to economic growth, after a trend of strong housing starts in 2012: “Per Census data, solid gains in both single-family and multifamily production resulted in nationwide housing starts rising 12.1 percent, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000 units – the highest level of new home production since June 2008.”

The NAHB says that extremely low mortgage rates, recovering house prices in most markets, and pent-up demand will provide forward movement in home building and home buying in 2013. NAHB expects housing starts to rise about 20 percent in 2013.

If you want to find the bad news, believe me, it’s out there. Our industry climate is far from perfect, and we still have a long way to go. But if you were looking for any good news – a silver lining, perhaps, to the usual construction market commentary – you now have that. Here’s to a robust, busy and – hopefully – prosperous 2013.

Correction
In the December 2012 of Masonry Magazine, an incorrect URL appeared at the end of the article, “Refractory Mortar.” The correct URL is:

www.heatstoprefractorymortar.com.

Masonry regrets the error.

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