Small, unplanned projects bring home remodeling

Americans invested in their homes during the COVID-19 lockdown, grappling with to-do lists, and upgrading their indoor and especially outdoor living areas.

Do you remember pictures of long lines of shoppers standing 6 feet apart in front of Lowe’s and Home Depot in April?

Both retailers recorded strong increases in sales from do-it-yourself customers and so-called pickup truck professionals. Customers spent an additional $ 2 billion on each company in the first quarter of 2020 year over year.

Demand has picked up and continued into May, said Marvin Ellison, CEO of Lowe, during a earnings call about first-quarter sales, which rose to $ 19.68 billion.

Ellison pointed out activities that ranged from outdoor landscaping, to essential indoor repair and maintenance, to lengthy home projects. He also saluted “true standouts” among Lowe’s suppliers, including Charlotte, Charlotte Pipe, and Foundry Co., based in NC.

Charlotte Pipe was founded in 1901 and claims to be the only company that manufactures pipes and fittings from cast iron and plastic. Plastic products include PVC and ABS behind the wall drain, waste and ventilation pipes, and thin-walled PVC pipes for gutter drainage.

With an estimated turnover of 445 million US dollars, Charlotte Pipe ranks ninth among North American pipe, profile and hose manufacturers according to the Plastics News ranking.

For outdoor projects, the activity was more than seasonal. Cautious homeowners didn’t want contractors in their homes. According to the Farnsworth Group & Home Improvement Research Institute’s COVID Impact Tracker, remodelers identified this as their top concern in April, May and June.

Because of this, remodeling companies that make exterior improvements such as gutters, siding, windows, doors, patios, patios, and solar panels are doing better than the indoor trades – plumbers, electricians, HVAC, carpenters, painters, floorers and tilers – as well as the design build – Contractors and full service companies.

“Homeowners can do a lot of work like roofs, siding, and doors and aren’t quite as concerned about home builders,” said Abbe Will, assistant project manager, futures remodeling for the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Will spoke about the remodeling prospects after a pandemic and economic downturn during a webinar organized by the National Association of Home Builders on June 25th.

According to the Harvard Joint Center, the homeowner remodeling market is projected to fall 0.4 percent to $ 326 billion by mid-2021, an abrupt U-turn after growing 5 to 7 percent annually in recent years.

“The proportion of transformers who expect less sales in the coming months due to the pandemic is almost three [out of] Four transformers in the Northeast and Midwest as well as those who focus on domestic retailers in all regions, “Will said.

She pointed to the second biggest concern about transformers, led by the Farnsworth Group: 55 percent say homeowners are worried about their money and finances. Unemployment remains high, states that are rising COVID cases are renewing business restrictions, and more households could turn remodeling jobs into DIY projects.

Even before the outbreak of the pandemic, almost all 47 metropolitan areas covered by the Harvard Center were expected to see a slowdown in improvement spending by 2020. Revised, COVID-adjusted forecasts now show that annual homeowner renovation spending is expected to decrease in 24 metropolitan areas – from nine in the original forecast – while 15 only saw increases of 1 to 3 percent compared to 2019.

“Think about which markets are likely to be hit harder in this downturn, and we believe the coastal markets are one and then markets that are more reliant on tourism, services and restaurants where unemployment has been higher. These are becoming more in question posed.” Said Will.

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