Photo: Judy Schriener For ENR The sagging economy still weighed heavy on the National Association of Home Builders’ International Builders’ Show Jan. 12-15 in Orlando, Fla. The ever-so-slow recovery, which David Crowe, chief economist for NAHB, labeled “a constant annoyance,” was the chief subject of conversations. Crowe admitted that, like most other economists, he was more optimistic at the beginning of 2010 than he was at the end of the year. Sales figures for single-family homes in 2010 were up, though just 7% higher than those of 2009, the worst year of the downturn. Crowe predicts growth of single-family home
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.