Housing Starts Slip 2.7 Percent
Housing starts slowed 2.7 percent in July to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.65 million units, the Commerce Department reported recently. This rate is on pace with the number of starts that the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is forecasting for the year as a whole. Meanwhile, permits for new housing construction remained virtually unchanged in July at a 1.7-million-unit rate.
“Builders were finally able to take a breather following the breakneck speed at which they were filling orders in this year’s first half,” said Gary Garczynski, NAHB president and builder/developer from Woodbridge, Va.
Plastic, Wood-Plastic Composite and Cabinet Demand to Increase in the U.S.
U.S. demand for plastic and wood-plastic composite materials for construction applications is forecast to expand nearly 13 percent annually through 2006, approaching $2 billion in value and using more than 2 billion pounds of plastic resin. Advances will result from both supplantation of wood in existing applications and introduction into previously untapped construction uses. The various applications for composite and plastic lumber can be classified into two groups based on the length of time since these materials first appeared.
Demand for cabinets is also projected to increase 6.8 percent per year through 2006 to $15.6 billion. Growth will increase relative to the 1996-2001 period as a result of stronger expenditures for residential repair and improvement projects, which constitute the single largest end use for cabinets. Cabinet sales in the residential aftermarket will be further supported by renovation activity stemming from shifting consumer preferences in cabinet design, as well as by various demographic factors.
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