The Market is Slowing, but Don't Panic

Concrete Concepts is now Concrete Contractor.

That's what I find myself telling a lot of people lately.

There's been a lot of doom and gloom lately about the residential construction market. Housing starts are down. New and existing home sales are dropping. Builder inventories are growing.

That's right ... the residential market is in the tank, well on it's way to the worst year since 2003. And it could be another 18 months — maybe even two years! — before the market starts going up again.

You see, the point here is even as the market is slowing, it'll still end up as the third or fourth best year ever for residential construction. If someone had said in 2000 that the market would be this good in 2006, most people would have been jumping for joy.

Now some areas are going to be worse than others. Those markets that saw crazy price appreciations over the last few years, such as Phoenix and most of California, are naturally seeing a bigger correction. There's a limit to how expensive house can get before people simply can't afford them and those places have hit that point for many potential homeowners.

The consensus seems to be that things will pretty much hold steady next year, with improvement coming in 2008. So it's a year or two of slower markets. In the grand scheme of things, that's not much.

In the meantime, nonresidential construction is picking up after being terrible for several years. Overall, the amount of concrete poured this year should surpass last year. Maybe the customer's different, but there's still plenty being built out there. That said, I'd like to hear how things are in your region, so feel free to give me a call or drop me an e-mail at

On another subject, you've no doubt noticed by now that we've changed our name. From now on, the magazine you've known as Concrete Concepts for the last several years will be called simply Concrete Contractor.

Basically, we changed the name to confirm what the magazine already is — the only one dedicated solely to the concrete contractor. We'll continue to focus on business management information, trends and news for the concrete contractor, simply with a title that more accurately reflects our mission.

Jonathan Sweet