The end of 2011 has definitely shown some promising estimates for the industry. A significant increase in consumer confidence is pushing housing starts and retail sales higher while the unemployment rate is finally decreasing. So, here’s a run-down review of how the industry fared through 2011 and entering into 2012!

Home Industry Intel

With the prior year’s housing starts being around 550,000, November estimates show that total housing starts and sales are making their way up to almost 700,000. In October, the number was right above 600,000, which shows steady progress for overall housing starts and sales.

Though total housing sales are slowly rising, the single-family home pocket is slightly smaller than last year’s housing starts. With last year’s estimates of single-family home starts/sales being about 450,000, the number has decreased slightly to approximately 440,000.

On a lighter note, existing home sales are climbing this year, reaching about 4.5 million. The prior year’s existing home sales were almost at 4.0 million and steadily increased by a half a million, showing that even with single family homes slightly decreasing, housing starts and existing home sales are steadily advancing overall.

2011 has proven to be a successful year when it comes to retail sales. Compared to 2010 estimates, the ending results of 2011 retail sales in both home centers/pro dealers and hardware stores have increased through the August – December months. Sales in hardware stores have increased to 1.0 or more in 2011 and sales in home centers and pro dealers are climbing as well.

Something that has a positive “ripple-effect” on all of our businesses is the unemployment rate. This rate is showing a decrease of 1.2% (from 9.8% in 2010 to 8.6% at the end of 2011), though not as low as we’d like it, at least we are seeing a positive change.

With a lower unemployment rate, an increase in stocks and higher retail sales, consumer confidence has advanced from 53.3% in 2010 to 64.5% in December of 2011 which is positively impacting our industry overall.

Generally speaking, the 2011 estimates for the industry’s future are on the positive end of the spectrum giving hope for a brighter 2012 for our industry. The strengthening of consumer confidence has played a significant role in home and retail sales growth, consequently raising stock value.

So, housing industry friends, let’s keep the New Year going by keeping the consumer confidence at a high!


Share with us your thoughts on how you thought the industry finished in 2011, and we'd love to hear what your predictions are for the economy in 2012?

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