In this episode, we host a conversation with Craig Webb of Webb Analytics. Craig formed Webb Analytics in September 2018 after spending a dozen years as editor-in-chief of ProSales, where he won numerous national writing and editing awards, visited dealers in 49 states, and won renown for his speeches and webinars to groups across the U.S. as well as Japan and Canada. For five of those years, Webb also led Remodeling, a publication for professional remodelers across the U.S. known for its Cost vs. Value report.
Prior to joining ProSales, Webb worked as an editor and reporter at The Wall Street Journal in Brussels and New York. He served as a chief economics reporter for United Press International, covered Congress and the White House for McGraw-Hill, was international trade editor at the Journal of Commerce, and other organizations in newsrooms from Indiana to Italy.
In this episode, we review some of the trends within the construction industry. “It’s often hard for businesses in the industry to be able to follow fast-changing trends in the market, causing many businesses to be vulnerable to market fluctuations,” says Webb.
While many other industries were negatively impacted by COVID, the real estate and construction industries have seen a different trend in the last year. Building supply dealers, lumber yards, distributors, and large construction retailers flourished during the pandemic’s first months, seeing 20-40% increases in sales. Home Depot, for example, saw a 22% increase in sales during the past year. Returning to normal has caused more led to more shortages and an increase in building supplies, and market squeezes led to an increase in the price of building supplies. In early 2021, the price of lumber was nearly triple what it had been just one year prior.
Another important trend is that we have continued to build fewer houses in the U.S. and the supply of houses is lagging compared to the demand. Because of COVID and working from home, people’s expectations of homes have changed. People need bigger homes away from the main cities. This has led to another wave of increase in demand for real estate. This means we will continue to have a shortage of houses and high demand for lumber and building materials in the future. Webb discussed how finding and predicting trends within the construction market can help material suppliers flourish and combat changes in the market.
To hear more about recent trends in the building materials and the construction industry, listen to our latest episode of Construction Pals as we chat with Craig Webb.