If early signs are any predictor, many home improvement companies are going to have a strong spring selling season. Have I got your attention now?
Let me share what some of you may already sense. The home improvement market is, well, improving. And, if early signs are any predictor, many home improvement companies are going to have a strong spring selling season.
Let me explain. I attended the Gutter Helmet National Dealer meeting in Estero, Florida earlier this month. While there, I spoke with a number of dealers who reported vigorous traffic at recent home shows in which they participated. Also, some of those dealers quietly reported significantly higher sales for their 2009 Fourth Quarter over 2008. Granted, the Fourth Quarter of 2008 for most every business was definitely nothing to write home about, but this is one data point that suggests strong upward momentum.
Data from the search engines can serve as a good economic barometer. To that end, the volume of searches for keywords and phrases related to home improvement has jumped significantly 2010 year-to-date over 2009. I won’t drone on about statistics and the science of keywords. However, homeowners are using their keyboards to search home improvement topics in greater volumes than we have seen since the Spring of 2007.
Finally, ServiceMagic just published its survey of home remodelers for the Fourth Quarter of 2009. Sure, ServiceMagic tends to work with smaller home improvement companies, but their data backs up with what I have seen and heard over the last several months.
Here’s a summary:
Interestingly, the major increases are in core home improvement categories such as additions, replacement windows, siding, roofing, etc. My theory (shared by many people) is that homeowners had held off on these major renovations and higher tickets jobs because: 1) credit was scarce and they couldn’t get financing, and 2) caution kept them from pulling the trigger while their jobs and home values were tenuous. If I’m right, homeowners may be warming up on both counts.
So while home improvement companies are not yet out of the woods, we seem to be heading in the right direction. Is it a full-fledged turnaround? We’ll know by June. But the sun is certainly seems to be breaking through the clouds.