Tag Archive | "remodeling"

Deadline Approaching for NRF Scholarships

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Deadline Approaching for NRF Scholarships

Posted on 25 January 2017 by CRadmin2

Among the many helpful organizations supporting the construction industry is the National Remodeling Foundation (NRF). The NRF seeks to advance the remodeling industry by providing educational opportunities to those interested in the form of scholarships. At the beginning of each year, the foundation accepts applications from anyone who wishes to pursue a career within the industry, and this year, the deadline for submission is February 15.

Before the end of spring, representatives from the NRF will look over all of the applications, and those who qualify will be notified by May 30. The scholarship funds will then be available within the next 12 months after July 2017. The money can then be used to pay for college courses leading to a degree or certification related to the remodeling industry or for certification programs sponsored by any of the following associations: the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

The amount of each scholarship varies from $500 to $2,000, depending on the individual’s circumstances and chosen educational programs, and the money is sent directly to the institution offering the courses. Applicants who are turned down are encouraged to try again the following year by submitting a new application, which is available on the NRF website.

All scholarship applications must be accompanied by two letters of reference, one personal and one professional, and a copy of the applicant’s most recent tax return. If the applicant is under the age of 18, his or her parents’ most recent tax return will be required.

The NRF was founded as a charitable organization with a threefold mission:

  1. Advance professionalism in the remodeling industry
  2. Offer educational opportunities within the industry
  3. Provide humanitarian aid to people affected by natural disasters or other tragedies

“At its core, the National Remodeling Foundation exists to support and encourage individuals who are as passionate about the remodeling industry as we are,” said NRF President Steve Kleber. “We are continually seeking those from younger generations to find new ways to market, grow and ultimately give back to our community. The NRF is proud to support these students and anticipates positive, mutually rewarding opportunities to stem from our relationships with them.”

The latest three scholarship winners were reported to be studying Furnishings & Interiors at the University of Georgia, Interior Design at the University of Pittsburgh and Architectural Design & Drafting at Portland Community College.

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Analysts Give Mixed Signals on Remodeling Outlook

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Analysts Give Mixed Signals on Remodeling Outlook

Posted on 12 November 2015 by cradmin

Chart courtesy of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

Chart courtesy of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University – Click To Enlarge

According to the firsthand accounts we’ve been hearing at CountertopResource.com since our last report, the state of the remodeling industry is incredibly positive. Both contractors and related subcontractors, including countertop fabricators and installers, are enjoying a steady increase in business and in profits. However, a few reports show that the boom may be slowing, and business owners may be facing new difficulties going into 2016.

NARI Says Growth Slowing

In early October, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) released its industry analysis, Remodeling Business Pulse (RBP) for the third quarter of 2015. The RBP tracks current remodeling conditions and outlook, and it is professionally organized with data and research by the marketing firm Consumer Specialists.

The report revolves around a final rating that is supposed to be a conglomerate measure of the current conditions for remodelers. The rating is on a scale of one to nine, and a rating of five or higher indicates growth. The RBP rating for the third quarter 2015 was 6.03, which is a sure sign of fair growth. However, this is a decline from the second quarter rating of 6.48.

Breaking the report down into its individual components, declines were measured nearly across the board:

  • Inquiries declined 4.6 percent.
  • Requests for bids declined 4.0 percent.
  • Value of jobs declined by 4.6 percent.
  • Bid conversion remained unchanged.

The analysis provided by NARI states that the leading factor driving growth was postponed projects followed by an improvement in home prices.

“Our businesses are becoming stronger, and that is good, but not as fast as it once was. We are adjusting to slow sustainable growth and are less optimistic, more realistic about what the future will bring,” said David Merrick of the NARI Strategic Planning & Research Committee. “Our customers are being careful about budgeting and taking on bigger projects so leads may be down a little, but the leads we are getting are more focused and on target and budget oriented.”

The future outlook in the RBP showed a picture similar to the analysis of current conditions. The rating for the outlook dropped from 6.07 to 5.79. Fifty-three percent of respondents in the survey stated they see growth in the future while 15 percent they are predicting a decline in business.

Houzz Renovation Barometer Falls

Even though the Houzz Renovation Barometer for quarter three has declined from the previous quarter, the company states that confidence remains high among home renovators. The analysis is broken into six categories: architects, designers, general contractors (GCs) and remodelers, designers-builders, specialty builders-renovators and specialty landscapers.

According to the report, industry optimism by GCs & remodelers fell six points from 78 to 72 even though Houzz predicted only a one-point decline in the last Renovation Barometer. Specialty builders-renovators saw a drop of four points from 77 to 73, but Houzz predicted the category would rise two points to 79.

Even though these drops are quite significant, Houzz focused on the positive aspects of the report. The following stats reflect the year-to-year numbers:

  • New business inquiries increased from 63 to 74
  • Number of new projects increased from 66 to 74
  • Size of new projects increased from 60 to 69

All of these indicators of new business growth fell on a quarter-to-quarter basis, but this may be attributed to the annual winter slowdown.

LIRA Predicts Rise in Remodeling Spending

In October, the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) was published by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. LIRA was developed to estimate national spending on home improvements for the current and three subsequent quarters.

According to the third-quarter report, home-improvement spending will fall from $149.4 billion in the third quarter to $148.3 billion in the fourth and $146.9 billion in the first quarter of 2016. However, by the second quarter of 2016, spending is expected to rise to $154.5 billion, which is an increase of 6.8 percent.

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Improving Housing Market Bodes Well for Countertop Industry

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Improving Housing Market Bodes Well for Countertop Industry

Posted on 11 October 2012 by cradmin

Far from an optimist, particularly facing what is now being termed as “The Great Recession,” I have to say all of the signs are pointing to a more robust housing market in the works, which ultimately bodes well for the countertop industry. And it’s about time!

According to an article that ran on ForResidentialPros.com in Sept., the second quarter of 2012 showed positive annual growth rates, according to all three headline home-price composites, for the first time in two years. And, as the headline of a Mainline News article touted, National home prices see largest yearly increase since 2006, many agree that the prices homes are fetching on the market are improving. This is a major sign the housing market is on the road to recovery.

Seeing people willing to pay more for homes, indicates that they are buying again, which not only may mean improvements to these properties in the works, but also indicates the number of available homes on the market is lower.

Another indicator is the lessening number of foreclosures, which have been flooding the market with cheap property. According to an article from Reuters issued Oct. 11,  U.S. foreclosures are at their lowest point in 5 years, another good sign that the housing market has hit bottom and is rebounding.

That means we will likely see an uptick in new home building.

The National Association of Home Builders’ “Improving Market” indicator is also at a high, according to a recent report, which concurs with the other evidence.

So those in the countertop market who had been leveraged in the builder market when it dropped off a cliff in 2007, may now want to cautiously put a toe in the water and see if they can begin to get additonal business there.

It is doubtful we will see a level of activity near the peaks around 2006 any time soon, but with the unemployment rate now under 8 percent, these positive signs for the housing market make it difficult to be too much of a pessimist about 2013.

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