A few abbreviated comments, suggestions, and ideas that may be of interest to Industry…
I just returned from a short trip to the Austin and Dallas Fort worth region of the State of Texas and was pleasantly surprised with what I found. I recently read a report on the top housing markets in the US and in terms of new home construction, Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth were all in the top 10. In fact, the report suggested that on a per capita basis, Austin, Texas led the way in new housing construction this past year.
The report, it seems turned out to be fairly accurate, at least by what I could find out in talking to builders and distributors, and touring the residential construction projects taking place across the region. Austin has a number of medium and high-end residential subdivisions currently under construction and most builders that I spoke to were very busy. Homes in the sites that I visited were typically selling for $850,000 and up and many were sold before construction had actually begun. That is something that I have not seen since the heady days of 2005 -2006 housing bubble when the US had in the neighborhood of 2.3 million housing starts.
Anyways, I bring this up for two reasons, one is that the style and construction of the housing that I viewed lends itself well to the type of building products supplied by our members; think red cedar shake and shingle roofing ,wood trim, and facia and a significant use of architectural and decorative wood materials on the interior. Secondly, BC Wood will be participating in the Sunbelt Builders Show taking place this Oct 20 -22 in Austin– the center place of all this construction activity.
The city is economically driven by a young affluent workforce mainly employed in the high-tech sector. Dell computers and IBM both have significant presence in the Austin region and these two firms employ over 30,000 workers alone. Add to that, Austin is the state capital and is home to the University of Texas, and you have a vibrant, economically active region that for the most part has been relatively immune to the downturn faced by the rest of the country.
The opportunity to develop market share in Texas and in the Austin, Dallas corridor in particular seems good. The Sunbelt builders show will provide an excellent venue to meet key builders, architects, and distributors in this market. I have limited space, so if you think this may be a market for you or if you want more information, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org