This quarter, the Houzz Renovation Barometer, which tracks confidence in the home renovation market among industry professionals, gathered information specific to business conditions in the Houston metropolitan area and Southwestern Florida following the severe impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma in these areas.*
The hurricanes had an immediate effect on renovation-related businesses, with 28% in the Houston metro area and 41% in Southwestern Florida reporting that they suspended operations within the first two weeks of the hurricanes making landfall. Among those companies, 91% impacted by Hurricane Harvey and 65% affected by Hurricane Irma kept their doors closed for a week or longer. Despite closures, 92% and 78% of affected companies in Texas and Florida, respectively, expect to fully recover financially over the next 12 months.
Business owners faced challenges reopening their doors as the hurricanes exacerbated shortages of subcontractors (as reported by 38% of respondents in both Southwestern Florida and the Houston metro area), scarcity of products and materials (20% and 15%, respectively) and damage to local infrastructure (20% and 15%, respectively). Managing cost-concerned customers and consumer expectations also became challenges for businesses impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma (46% and 23%, respectively, and 31% and 23%, respectively). As a result, project backlogs** increased by nearly two weeks, on average, from 2.9 weeks to 4.4 weeks in the Houston metro area and from 4.8 weeks to 6.5 weeks in the Tampa metro area.
Despite hurricane-related business complications, backlogs in the Houston and Tampa metro areas are among the shortest of the top 20 metro areas. Consistent with Q2 2017 findings, the metro area experiencing the longest wait times is Boston (13.2 weeks), followed closely by Seattle (12.8 weeks). The St. Louis and Phoenix metro areas have the shortest average backlogs (3.5 and 3.6 weeks, respectively).
Overall, the Houzz Renovation Barometer showed continued quarter-over-quarter business confidence in the U.S. across all sectors in Q3 2017, including architects, designers, general contractors (GCs)/remodelers, design-builders, building/renovation specialists and landscape/outdoor specialists. For more information about the Q3 2017 Houzz Renovation Barometer, read the full report here.
* Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on August 25, 2017 and Hurricane Irma struck the Florida coast on September 10, 2017. Findings about the impact of Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, were not included due to very small sample sizes.
**Project backlogs depict the number of weeks before an average firm can start work on a new mid-sized home renovation or design project given its current project commitments.