News outlets reported that in October 2016, new housing starts hit a nine-year high, soaring up to 1.34 million. Additionally, the Department of Commerce revealed that the year closed out with privately-owned housing starts reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,226,000. This marked an 11.3% increase from November 2016, and a further 5.7% increase from December 2015. It is projected that housing demand will remain strong into 2017 due to several factors outlined by the National Association of Realtors. And thanks to the new administration, there is the potential of economic stimulus encouraging home buying confidence. Finally, continued U.S. job growth is fueling new home purchases, and in the coming year, more Millennials will be entering the market.
In other words, most home builders have a rather busy year ahead of them. As such, they’ll have to work faster and more efficiently in order to keep costs down and production on schedule – or in the best case scenario, to close more quickly and enjoy increased profit from the burgeoning market.
This can be challenging enough, but there is also a high demand for green living. In fact, the Department of Energy projected that the number of construction workers in the energy-efficiency segment would increase by 10.6 percent in 2017. Buyers want sustainable homes with modern features like programmable thermostats, lighting sensors and environmentally-friendly insulation, just to name a few. These elements are in addition to other comforts, such as open, ample space, copious light, plentiful storage and a modern feel. To ensure that budgets can make room for these elements, builders will need to think in a more creative manner in order to keep overall costs down, meet deadlines, and meet homeowner demands.
As building materials have evolved, so have in-home features. There are the flashier appliances and smart home technology consumers crave, but also flooring, lighting and storage options, which are designed to help builders work efficiently and remain on budget.
One example is the new ClosetMaid® ExpressShelf™ design and build, pre-finished shelf and rod system. Many builders know that time is money, and the ExpressShelf system can be installed in just ten minutes. That’s less than half of the time of traditional shelving.
Installation of ExpressShelf is also much easier – builders will save money because the system can be installed by a general laborer rather than a trim carpenter or specialty contractor. And after installation, the system is dynamic and adaptable. It can be placed in reach-in, walk-in, coat closets, laundry rooms, and where only a single shelf is needed in storage spaces like linen closets and pantries.
If new home demand continues in this anticipated upward trajectory, builders will want more options with which they can deliver top-notch product on budget, especially with an increased industry focus on overall sustainability. Using products like ExpressShelf is one way to keep ahead of tight production schedules and profit from the demand, all while delivering quality, comfortable homes for new and older generations.
This article originally appeared on Professional Builder