EDITORS NOTE: Reframing Reality

It’s time to challenge the conventional wisdom about our ‘faltering’ housing market.

March 2015 – As someone who lives and breathes this industry, I’m more than a little baffled by the steady drumbeat of headlines that refer to a “faltering housing recovery,” or “tepid housing market.” Fact-based housing numbers reflect a very different reality. Here, in black and white, are the actual total housing start numbers (in thousands) beginning with housing’s low point in 2009.

  • 2009 = 554
  • 2010 = 587
  • 2011 = 609
  • 2012 = 781
  • 2013 = 925
  • 2014 = 1,003
  • 2015f = 1,169
  • 2016f = 1,459

In the six years from 2009-2014, starts rose more than 81%, a respectable increase of 13.5% per year. If NAHB’s forecasts for 2015 and 2016 (above) prove correct, that’ll put total starts in 2016 at 1.459 million—which equates to nearly tripling in eight years. Granted, the numbers are far short of the 2.068 million starts reached in 2005. But tepid? Faltering? Hardly.

Yes, the housing market could be better. As the numbers above show, they could also be much worse. Consensus among economists is that housing will continue to climb for at least the next several years. Our job, yours and mine, is to embrace this reality and infuse it in every part of our business. The opportunities exist; what we choose to do with those opportunities is up to us.

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The fact that you’re reading this magazine says to me that you’re among the majority of LBM industry pros who search for ways to work better, smarter and more profitably. In addition to the magazine, I encourage you to check out our recently refreshed website at LBMJournal.com. The responsive design means it works equally well on mobile devices. It’s also packed with resources, including a searchable, digital archive of back issues, to help you find the insights you seek.

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Here’s to taking all the good that you’ve built in your business, reinforcing it with the strategies in this and every issue of LBM Journal, and defining a positive reality for you and your company.