First Quarter Prices Released, New Labor Rates

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New material costs have been posted. They are ready to download to your estimating software.

Also, new recommended Hourly Labor Rates (HLRs) have been posted.

Most Material Costs Stable Except Roofing

  • Dimensional lumber costs the same or increase less than 3% in some areas.
  • Plywood costs stay the same or go up 5% or less.
  • Roofing costs increase again by as much as 10% in some areas.
  • Drywall costs continue to stay low with little or no change.
  • Insulation costs stay virtually unchanged.


Here are some particularly relevant articles:

Mixed remodeling forecast for 2012
Remodelers hopeful for 2012, but not banking on big recovery

By Jonathan Sweet, Editor in Chief
Professional Remodeler

December 7, 2011

After a 2011 that failed to live up to expectations, remodelers are not as optimistic as they were a year ago that business is going to improve.

Just less than half of remodelers expect revenue to increase in 2012, according to the latest Professional Remodeler research. Twenty-nine percent of remodelers expect no change next year, while 23 percent expect revenue to decrease.

“I see some cautious optimism, but things seem on the edge and could fall again really easily,” says a design/build remodeler from the Northeast.

Says a Texas full-service remodeler: “The news is so bad consumers are going to go back to ‘wait and see’ before they buy.”

That pessimism is a marked contrast from the end of 2010, when remodelers were very hopeful about 2011. At that time, 64 percent said they expected their revenue to increase and only 15 percent expected business to slow.

Unfortunately, a stubbornly weak economy and continuing pressure on the housing market combined to make reality a lot less attractive, with only 29 percent of remodelers reporting their business picked up this year compared to 2010 and 42 percent saying that revenue was down.

“We need a bit of a burst to generate some demand out there,” says Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. “Folks are just nervous about getting into home improvement projects with the economy as weak as it is.”


A Cloudy Outlook for 2012?
LIRA data indicate a less-than-stellar short term

Mark A. Newman

November 16, 2011

Home improvement spending will remain tepid through the first half of 2012, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released today by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

According to LIRA estimates, the first quarter of 2012 is on track to be the worst for home improvement spending. The second quarter may see a slight uptick that could reverse the trend but only if consumer confidence booms with jobs and the housing market.

“There’s a lot of volatility in the market with a bit of random, non-seasonal bouncing around,” says Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center, adding that the “bouncing around” is due to replacement projects that are typically weather-related, and those numbers are getting mixed into the data. “It’s weak enough that the noise sort of dominates from what the trend is. Our indicators tell us that the trend is flat when we were hoping there would be a more clear sense of a recovery.”

As for how long this lackluster market will continue, Baker says to count on a fairly bleak outlook at least until the middle of 2012. “After that it’s a little too early to tell,” he says. “We’re not seeing anything that would indicate a dramatic turnaround. Quite frankly, it depends on what the economy does over that period.” Key indicators will not only include consumer confidence but also any periods of sustained job growth or a more stable housing market.

For remodeling to see a significant uptick, it’s really going to take a sharp increase in consumer confidence in the economy and housing market. “If you live in a market where prices are trailing down, it’s a more difficult decision to pull the trigger on that upscale remodeling investment,” Baker says. “You’re going to do the roofing and siding stuff that you need to do but the discretionary stuff is a harder sell in this market. It’s going to take some sense that things are getting better. And there’s enough uncertainty that people don’t feel that way at present.”

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