Single-family housing fared far worse than expected this year but could rebound in the coming years, according to the National Association of Home Builders. During NAHB’s Construction Forecast Conference on Oct. 27, chief economist David Crowe estimated that 2010 will close with an 8% increase in single-family home construction starts to 479,000 units. That is a major adjustment from NAHB’s May forecast, which predicted a 25% increase this year. Multifamily housing has fared better than expected: Although its May analysis called for an 18% drop in starts, NAHB now forecasts a 12% rise for the year to 125,000 units. Crowe
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.