Local professionals give us their outlook for the coming year.
We’ve already heard all the top ten lists for 2014, plus the best and worst of everything the year brought forth. Next month the groundhog will give us his prediction for winter’s end. Instead of listening to talking heads or unreliable rodents, BUILD went to the experts for our predictions for 2015. Here’s what they had to say:
The Housing Market
- Signs point to higher interest rates in early 2015, and buyers will want to buy before prices increase and the affordability goes down. With the Des Moines economy growing and unemployment dropping, the only logical thing that can happen is the real estate market will be hot, based on high demand and lack of inventory.
Scott Wendl, RE/MAX Real Estate Group
- We don’t anticipate mortgage rates will change significantly in 2015. Depending how the economy reacts to the new Senate, there may be some fluctuation in interest rates in the spring. But rates will remain low, so this shouldn’t affect the housing market much. The majority of financing will continue to be in the new construction or new mortgage market rather than refinancing.
Cade Lindaman, Community State Bank
- Most builders are expecting a strong year. The momentum in the industry that began in 2014 should continue through 2015, with multifamily housing an especially strong segment of the market. Experts aren’t anticipating a big uptick in mortgage rates, and the business climate and job market in Des Moines have been great. So we’re very optimistic about 2015.
Rick Thompson, Gilcrest/Jewett Lumber Company
The Local Industry
- Classic Builders will open two new plats of Centennial Pointe in 2015, completing the 350 home sites for this subdivision in the rapidly growing northwest section of Ankeny. Our original goal was to have every lot developed by 2017, and with the strength of the market continuing into 2015, we plan to finish two years early. We expect only modest construction price increases this year and continued demand for home-building sites that feature walkouts, daylights, lake/pond frontage, or lots that back to trees.
Joshua Moulton, Classic Builders
- 2015 will be especially strong for the condo/townhouse market in central Iowa. Overall, business should be as strong or stronger than it was in 2014. New construction is active throughout central Iowa, but Urbandale should be an especially active area now that more land is being developed to the west of that suburb. There just wasn’t a lot of available inventory at the close of 2014, so the spec market is growing, too.
John Larson, Dallenbach & Larson
The remodel market
- We see continued rise in people improving the homes they currently live in—from new windows and doors to complete bath and kitchen remodels. We expect this segment of the industry to continue increasing through 2015, and Beisser Lumber is excited about the projects ahead this year.
Rob Walker, Beisser Lumber Company
- We began scheduling a lot of bathroom and kitchen remodels already at the close of 2014. Clients are really looking to update bathrooms, especially with tile showers and granite or quartz countertops, which are huge factors in resale situations. When homeowners are looking to stay, they’re often interested in zero-entry showers, either for the contemporary styling or as a consideration for aging in place.
Joe Williams, Williams Remodeling
The subcontractor markets
- Like many businesses in the building industry, we are seeing price increases from suppliers, but I wonder if that will continue as oil and fuel prices decrease and transportation costs go down. We expect consumers to continue to make wise investments in their homes in 2015, which will include home improvements such as kitchen and bath remodels. Because we are a company-owned showroom offering high-quality semicustom cabinetry along with outstanding design capabilities, we are positioned well for a strong year in 2015.
Terry Doling, Showplace Kitchens
- We’re finishing our 30,000-square-foot addition in 2015 and continue to expand and diversify our range of products as we travel the world searching for new and exciting stones for our clients. Some of the trends we see for 2015 include white and gray granites and marbles, soapstone and quartzite products rather than typical stone, and custom edge profiles to give countertops a thicker, more pronounced look.
Sara Withers, Renaissance Granite & Quartz
- The past year was a strong one for the concrete business. We experienced people trending toward personalized design, and we anticipate 2015 will continue in that direction. People especially want products that are of high quality, endurance, and strength and products that are unique and personalized yet have character. Concrete’s versatility enables it to enhance any style of home with a polished floor, a concrete countertop, or one of many other projects. Overall, we predict that 2015 is going to be a very SPECKtacular year!
Jeremy Speck, Speck Concrete
- We’re looking for the economy to get healthy in 2015. Although by comparison to some other markets, Iowa is doing well, we’re still seeing a slower economy than in years past. And there’s no easing on the labor side right now. Builders and subcontractors are still struggling to find workers and good people they can train, people who want to work hard for a good wage. As the economy improves, this is going to be an ongoing issue.
Gary Scrutchfield, Lumberman’s Drywall & Roofing Supply
- We’ve got a ton of projects on the books already for this year, everything from residential to commercial. There isn’t really a trend toward one product or color—it’s a wide variety because everyone wants a personalized look, something that reflects their own tastes. We’ve expanded our offerings to meet that demand and brought in a huge selection of materials to choose from that suit the needs of our clients, whether it’s for a single-family home, a hotel, or a commercial building.
Justin Loutsch, Centurion Stone of Iowa
- The housing starts may be down some in 2015, but the banks are loosening up some of the loan requirements after the tightening up they did a few years ago. This should spur the housing market on. Already this year, we’re experiencing a lot of estimating for both commercial and residential projects. Based on our current work load, we anticipate a great 2015.
Bob Lane, Moehl Millwork
- 2014 was a busy year for us, and we anticipate an equally busy 2015. To help serve our customers better, we’re updating our website and logo. Being available 24/7, whether it’s online or through our employees and services, is important when we’re this busy.
Ron Mealey, Custom Electrical Services
The business market
- With the increase in technology, too many companies have neglected the basics of good business: quality workmanship, personal service, and good relationships with customers. Technology and online options are great, but they don’t result in loyal customers most of the time. I think businesses who emphasize customer relationships and genuine service are going to be strong at the end of 2015. Those who don’t will have fewer repeats.
Dave McGrath, Fine Line Woodworks