Industry News: September 2015

Industry News

As temperatures cool, so does home remodeling work. Despite the upcoming slow season, 2015 has shaped up to be a very good year in terms of home remodeling and home buying. In fact, single-family housing starts have hit their highest levels since 2007!

That’s just a piece of the good news we found over the last few weeks. Below are the stories you need know regarding home improvement.

If there are specific trends or news sources you want us to follow, please let us know in the comments section below or email me at

Housing Recovery

Single-Family Gains Push Housing Starts to Highest Level Since 2007National Association of Home Builders

Led by a strong jump in single-family production, nationwide housing starts inched up 0.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.21 million units in July, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department. This is the highest level since October 2007. Single-family starts rose 12.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 782,000 units while multifamily production fell 17% to 424,000 units.

We’re About To Reach The Halfway Point Of Recovery, But What’s Next?Housing Wire

The long-awaited housing price rebound is arriving. After eight years, more and more real estate markets are reaching or exceeding the prices they achieved at the peak of the housing boom in 2007. As of June 2015, a total of 142 markets, or 47% of the top 300, have achieved full pricing recovery. Among the top 100 markets, southern markets continue to dominate the recovery with 23 markets, while the Midwest ranks in second with 11 markets.

Worker Safety

Good News: Homeowners Spend Like It’s 2006CNN

The latest evidence came from Home Depot. The world’s largest home improvement retailer recently revealed it experienced a record number of transactions in the last three months. On average, shoppers spent more than at any point since 2006 and sales at stores open for a year or more jumped 6%. All of that suggests Americans are ramping up spending on efforts to spruce up newly-purchased homes or ones they’d like to sell. While housing might not be back to pre-crisis levels, it’s certainly looking a lot healthier.

Labor Crisis Aggravates Workplace Safety FearsConstruction Dive

A nationwide survey of 1,358 contractors found that 86% are struggling to fill hourly craft jobs or salaried professional positions. The Associated General Contractors of America conducted the survey. The AGC also reported that the ongoing labor shortage has created intense competition for skilled workers, as 36% of responding firms said they lost craft workers to local construction competitors, and 21% lost them to other local industries. As a result of this competition, 56% of firms are bumping up pay for hourly workers, according to the AGC survey. Another 43% said they have needed to rely more heavily on subcontractors during the labor shortage.

Poor Insulation

Building Inspectors’ Top Nine Construction SnafusBuilder

Building inspectors and energy raters see a lot of construction blunders. From improperly installed ductwork to leaky windows and “lumpy” insulation application, these building science experts have a long list of pet peeves. Builder rounded up their top complaints along with expert advice on how to avoid these common construction sins. See if you’re guilty.

California Court Rulings Send Clear Message To Employers Who Misclassify Workers As ‘Independent Contractors’United States Department of Labor

Two recent and very significant legal victories for California workers send a strong message to employers nationwide: if you misclassify your employees, you will face the consequences. Misclassification is a practice used by some employers to cut costs by declaring their workers to be independent contractors. The U.S. Department of Labor has announced that federal courts have ruled against two Bay Area companies and sided with their employees after investigations revealed that the companies deliberately misclassified the workers as independent contractors to cheat them out of their wages and other critical workplace benefits.


We are hitting the slow season, but thanks to a strong first nine months, 2015 will be a year of great progress. To see how this month compared to July, please see Industry News: July 2015.

What are you reading to keep up with industry news? If we missed something, share the link in the comments section below or email me at