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With the housing industry slowly, cautiously climbing out of its worst downturn in memory, vendors on the exhibit floor at the Jan. 12-15 NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Orlando reported the mood among the more than 47,000 home builders, remodelers, product manufacturers and other industry professionals in attendance was noticeably brighter than at the previous year’s show in Las Vegas.
“There’s optimism,” said Tom Ktsanes, district sales manager for Velux, manufacturers of tubular daylighting devices. “The green movement is still going strong, there’s more interest in solar hot water heater and daylighting products.”
Harsh weather in the rest of the country delayed or even cancelled a number of Orlando-bound flights, leading to lighter attendance on Wednesday, Jan. 12, when the show opened, but the next day’s numbers were stronger, said David Perozzi, marketing manager for Schalge. “We were busy all day on Thursday. It was a really good show,” he said.
On Saturday, Stan and Bertha Gillies of S & B Home Builders in Dadeville, Ala., were touring the four modular homes constructed in the parking lot of the Orange County Convention Center just outside the exhibit hall. They said they enjoyed seeing the new products on display, especially a new granite veneer for countertops and stair tread replacements. “We’ve enjoyed meeting all the vendors. It’s very beneficial,” Stan Gillies said.
In addition to commemorating sustainable construction by holding the fourth annual Green Day, this year’s IBS celebrated universal design, offered plan review workshops, partnered builders with lenders and included 224 educational sessions.
More than 1,130 exhibitors displayed their products and services at this year’s show, and many of them are already making plans to return to Orlando for the IBS next February. Toby Texer, southeast representative for Empire Comfort Systems, said his visitors were particularly interested in the display of high-efficiency direct-vent gas fireplaces — and the company is already thinking about its exhibits for next year.
Texer was encouraged by the NAHB economic outlook, which forecasted a 21% increase in new single-family home construction this year.