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The Future of Housing and Metal Products

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The U.S. housing market has been through the worst recession in the history of housing. In fact, 2011 will probably be marked up as the worst year during that period. While the previous years' demonstrated the meaning of "bubble," it was last year's anemic performance that took the prize for futility.

But home builders are reporting increasing sales in 2012. At the International Builders Show in February, I spoke with many builders who had just experienced the best start to a year in their history.

With that growth, though, has come problems. Many of these builders shut down their processes and systems as they hemorrhaged sales and staff. They survived the down time by going extra lean, but as we ramp up, the leanness is working against them. Estimating, invoicing, design selections and product purchasing are all jammed up, slowing the production cycle and increasing costs.

Up and down the supply chain, we're seeing stress in the home building market, which could only get worse if demand increases.

Now is the time, though, for builders to re-evaluate their floor plans, designs and product offerings. My hope is that many will take a closer look at metal building products and see that the value and performance they offer meet the needs of the new home buyers. It's time for metal building products to increase market share across the entire spectrum of products in the residential market.

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