The news from the NAHB 2012 International Builder Show is the economy is improving, real estate will follow and energy efficiency will drive new home sales. In general, the mood was cautiously optimistic from builders we spoke with to vendors visited at the trade show to speakers and publications distributed.
Here are a few highlights and our impressions from attending three days at the IBS.
The Economy & Housing
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was the featured speaker. He outlined all the reasons why housing has been a drag on the economy rather than pulling the county out of recession as in previous economic downturns. Then he ran down the list of actions he sees that could lead to a swifter recovery of the housing market. You can see a replay of his comments at the NAHB Website.
Green Building & Energy Efficiency
McGraw Hill Construction issued its Green Home Builders and Remodelers Study. The report predicts green homes will gain market share over the next few years to between 29-38% of the market by 2016. They estimate that could be a $87 – $114 billion industry. Driving this demand, according to the study, will be homeowners’ desire to reduce their energy bills. (See a preview and download the free two-page fact sheet on the company’s website.)
On that note, the tradeshow had a long list of exhibitors in the “Insulation” category. There was a bit of “green washing” with products such as foam making some pretty lofty “eco” and recycled content claims. But it was encouraging to see most of these insulation oriented booths filled with attendees asking questions and taking information. CIMA member Applegate Insulation was on hand to spread the good word about the benefits of using cellulose insulation. Hopefully more builders will begin to offer the greenest of the green cellulose insulation as a standard item. Interest is clearly there at the homebuyer level. Builders could benefit from specifying an energy saving product that is truly green with up to 85% recycled content. It would be a great way to differentiate new homes from the continued high resale inventories also predicted to grow as another wave of foreclosures occurs in 2012.