Here’s the latest on the Record Stock Market
While some fear the stock market’s record breaking run this past week was based squarely on the Fed’s stimulative stance, it is clear to me that our economy is looking forward, with compelling evidence that is currently and aggressively fueling the home and building products industry.
Employment growth in housing-related sectors outperformed all other jobs. In fact, residential construction employment was reported up double the overall economy, helping to cut our unemployment rate to a four-year low on Friday… the best rate since December, 2008.
Wholesale inventories rose 1.2% in January – the fastest clip since 2011 – led by the value of lumber stocks, which grew by 3.4%. Keep in mind that an increase of finished goods in inventory would indicate products not moving. In this case however; considered as “raw material” for construction, lumber represents work-in-progress and as such, demonstrates robust channel growth.
Overlay this clear momentum against the number of homes listed for sale nationwide — down in late February by some 17% year-over-year — now at a 4.5 month supply, and we have the foundation for sustainable growth in the homebuilding channel.
So what should we do with this confidence, you might ask? Let’s start with innovation in ramping up product development. Consider emphasizing “lower” and “upper” pricing strategies (for trading-up and trading-down), as middle-tier audiences will continue to feel the squeeze. And yes, we must change from playing defense to offense… delivering on what we do, rather than straddling the oft-comfortable stance of blaming the political or economic environments.