NAHB International Showcases Sound Abatement and New Technology
Despite a reduced attendance at this year’s NAHB International Builder’s Show, held in Orlando on January 12, attending economists offered a ray of light in the form of new home construction projections, with funds fueled in part by the enormous tax package put in place at the end of 2010, combined with the one-year reduction in Social Security taxes and strengthening GDP.
With a gradually recovering housing market comes optimism over the ancillary economic boost as builders, planners, vendors and others in the U.S. and international building industries converged in Central Florida to see what 2011 has in store for new construction.
NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe told attendees that this spring’s selling season will see improvements over last year’s, with job growth offering a healthier stimulus within the housing market than tax credits for home buyers provided last year.
Crowe projected 575,000 single-family home starts in 2011, up 21-percent over the estimated 475,000 units started in 2010. The 2010 figures were up by seven percent over 2009’s 442,000 new homes.
Multifamily construction is expected to profit from a disproportionate number of young adults now moving into the housing market, expected to experience a16-percent growth this year to 133,000 units, and a 53-percent increase forecasted in 2012 to 203,000 units.
Vendors manning booths at this year’s show experienced tremendous interest in technology and products that will give their projects an edge as the building industry struggles back to its feet.
Attending for the sixth consecutive year, Tampa-based Acoustiblok provided one of the most talked about products at the show: effective noise abatement solutions for indoor and outdoor applications.
Housing price recovery is already occurring in some areas, and those properties that are gaining notice in today’s market are built with recession-proof features such as built-in noise abatement. Particularly in urban and industrialized areas, noise pollution has become an epidemic and new home buyers will choose privacy and tranquility over almost any other amenities. The same holds true for refurbished properties that have had appropriate noise abatement material installed during the renovation process. Homebuyers can always purchase high end touches after construction and even after moving in to their new homes, but the most effective sound abatement must be installed under the drywall, during construction.
While builders continue to struggle to gain access to needed credit to start building new homes, many are looking into the prospect of adding energy efficient building materials and highly desirable soundproofing to their new home building plans as awareness of the side effects of noise pollution is changing the way people are choosing to live.
Citing research from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft told NAHB attendees that households are expected to grow at an annual rate of 1.2 million to 1.5 million over the next five to 10 years, which will require a sharp increase in housing production to keep up; half of the 500,000 to 600,000 new homes built over the past two years were needed just to replace the number of homes being removed from the housing stock.
As the housing industry recovers and density increases, one thing seems certain: as new home buyers return to the market they will come armed with a list of expectations that reflect quality living in today’s noisy world. Built-in noise abatement material is expected to be more in demand than ever before, and builders and architects are finally beginning to incorporate soundproofing in the design process in order to compete effectively in today’s market.