Our recent Q3 2019 Houzz Renovation Barometer* points to mixed expectations for home renovation market activity in the third quarter of the year. While the outlook of the architectural and design services sector is the most optimistic of the past two years, the construction sector sentiments are some of the lowest we’ve seen since 2015 – albeit high in absolute terms. Weather conditions in the first half of the year have reportedly led to concern and diminished expectations among construction businesses for this quarter.
The severity of the weather’s impact on the construction industry cannot be overstated. When businesses were asked to describe any local or national factors that are impacting construction businesses today, weather received the most mentions, with rain, flooding, and in some cases snow, causing major delays for construction crews. Interestingly, many other factors commonly listed by construction businesses, such as rising prices and competition, somewhat fell into the background.
According to the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, the first half of 2019 was marked by extremely wet weather conditions. During the month of May, there were record-breaking amounts of rain, flooding, tornadoes, hail storms and damaging winds. In fact, from the West Coast through the central plains, into the Great Lakes and parts of the Northeast, it was the second wettest May in 125 years.
Unusual weather conditions so late in the year could explain the decrease in project backlogs, or the average number of weeks before a business can start work on a new midsize project. It could also explain why construction sentiments are somewhat dampened, especially for build-only remodelers. We are continuing to monitor weather in the third quarter, as a major influencer for the industry. While extreme weather often spurs additional home improvement and repair activity shortly after the events, the drop in backlogs might signal a delay in some of the larger projects until next year.
Download the complete Q3 2019 Houzz Renovation Barometer reports for the Construction sector and the Architectural and Design Services sector at this link, and watch this video, for additional analysis of the results.
*The Q3 2019 Barometer was fielded June 27th through July 10th and garnered responses from more than 2,600 small businesses on Houzz. n=2,622.