Home Innovation Insights

Find out what's new and trending in exterior home building products and materials.

Exterior Materials Trends from Annual Builder Practices Survey

July 3, 2014

With new single-family housing starts up 16 percent from the previous year, 2013 brought some needed relief to a beleaguered industry. As if thumbing their noses at the “not so big” home trend, average single-family home sizes were up across all price-point categories (starter, move-up, and luxury) to reach a historic high of about 2,550 square feet. An additional boon was a shift in the price point mix from starter homes to move-up homes. The share of luxury homes declined slightly from 19 to 18 percent of the single-family market in 2013.

So what changes in material usage patterns do we anticipate given this backdrop? A boost in mid-grade materials over low-end materials, and perhaps a minor softening of the high-end stuff. But to complicate things, not all areas of the country grew at the same pace. Growth in much of California and Florida, for example, outpaced the rest of the country, and now new homes in these areas make up a greater proportion of the national totals—which means the “average” new U.S. home is just a little more like a California or Florida home.

After comparing data from the 2013 Annual Builder Practices Reports to the previous year, what we saw largely met our expectations—geographic and price-point changes were noted throughout. However, there were a few surprises that may signal some fundamental changes in builder preferences for new home materials. Let’s start with trends we saw in exteriors.


Exterior Wall Finishes

Trim & Fascia

Overall, the market for building products allowed for virtually all product categories to see an increase in total sales. Sometimes a growing market, however, can mask market share losses to competitors, and disproportionate growth (or decline) between regions can further cloud the view of market performance.

The solution? Study markets at a regional and local level. Home Innovation Labs conducts the Builder Practices Survey each year on 42 product categories to allow for geographic analysis of building materials purchases.

Feel free to contact me to share insights into tracking this market.