In its Third Quarter 2018 Backlog Indicator, Houzz found that companies in the construction sector were seeing a national drop of roughly 3.4 weeks on project backlogs from Q2. The average project backlog was 6.5 weeks nationally. According to Houzz, specialty trade contractors including painters saw the most dramatic drop to 3 weeks (down 5.2 weeks from Q2).
The Houzz Backlog Indicator tracks the average number of weeks before a business can start work on a new midsize project and is a component of the U.S. Houzz Renovation Barometer.
Despite the drop, Houzz is quick to point out that project backlogs still remain higher today than the same period last year. In addition to increasing year-over-year backlog, expectations for project inquiries and new projects in Q3 are high. The overall outlook for the home improvement market remains strong through the end of the year and beyond, according to Houzz principal economist, Nino Sitchinava.
APC surveyed painters on its Facebook page and found that the vast majority are currently booking projects out well over a month. A full 25 percent of survey respondents are working with a backlog exceeding six months.
And there’s plenty of reason to remain positive that painting demand will remain high through the end of the year. For example, builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes remains high in September at a reading of 67 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).
"Despite rising affordability concerns, builders continue to report firm demand for housing, especially as Millennials and other newcomers enter the market," said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a custom home builder from LaPlace, La. "The recent decline in lumber prices from record-high levels earlier this summer is also welcome relief, although builders still need to manage construction costs to keep homes competitively priced."