The housing market is limping toward recovery. For planners, engineers and contractors whose business is driven by residential construction, the pace is painfully slow. That was a key message that emerged at the homebuilding industry’s largest trade show, Jan. 19-22 in Las Vegas. Predictably, attendance is about half of what it was in 2006 at the International Builders’ Show. One economist termed the builders that did attend “survivors.” The housing industry remains weighed down by foreclosures, unemployment, tightened lending standards and pricing instability. There were 3.95 million foreclosure filings nationwide at the end of 2009, with an additional 2.8 million
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.