More than 55,000 attendees packed the aisles of the Las Vegas Convention Center for the 2015 International Builders’ Show (IBS), the largest annual light construction trade show in the world.
The turnout this year bested 2014 by 8 percent, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), as more than 1,200 exhibitors filled 478,000 square feet of space with the latest products and services for home design and construction.
“This has been the best show we have experienced since the economic downturn,” said Jerry Konter, chairman of the NAHB Convention and Meetings Committee. “You felt a great energy the moment you hit the show floor, as builders and exhibitors continue to benefit from the recovering economy.”
Last year, NAHB and the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) hosted IBS and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) together for the first time.
This year, the trade organizations announced plans to co-locate the events through 2020 and further establish Design & Construction Week as “one of the world’s largest gatherings focused on new ideas, products and technologies to design, build and remodel homes,” according to NKBA, which estimates KBIS attendance increased 5 percent from 2014.
“Everything about this year’s show lived up to the promise of bigger, better and bolder,” said Bill Darcy, NKBA CEO. “We were thrilled, not only by the turnout, but by how many innovations were introduced by exhibitors this year. We couldn’t be happier that the industry sees KBIS as the platform to successfully launch new products.”
Among the new product introductions, certain trends become evident. Home automation continues to advance throughout the house, from thermostats to security systems to general lighting, as more homeowners adopt smartphones. The ability to customize a particular product has taken on additional importance for homeowners as they seek to mix natural elements with contemporary materials and heighten the quality of details.
And energy efficiency proves to be a fundamental consideration as homeowners try to manage their expenses while increasing sustainability and lowering maintenance.
“The exhibit halls were packed from end to end, and the energy on the show floor was amazing,” said newly elected NAHB chairman Tom Woods, a homebuilder from Blue Springs, Missouri. “Design & Construction Week was truly a unique one-stop shopping extravaganza for all those involved in the residential industry, and this mega event will be a great springboard for housing in the year ahead.”
Despite a weak performance in 2014, residential remodeling remains poised for modest growth in 2015, according to NAHB. The trade group estimates remodeling spending on owner-occupied single-family homes will increase nearly 3 percent in 2015 and another 1.5 percent in 2016, after plunging 5.4 percent in 2014.
“Existing home sales and house prices both hit soft spots in 2014 that dealt a glancing blow to residential remodeling businesses,” said Paul Emrath, NAHB vice president of survey and housing policy research. “We expect those drags are behind us in 2015, an outlook consistent with the optimism expressed by remodeler members in our recent Remodeling Market Index survey.”
The Remodeling Market Index (RMI), a quarterly survey of professional remodelers that asks whether conditions have gotten better or worse, hit a record-high result of 60 in the fourth quarter of 2014. An RMI above 50 indicates that more remodelers report market activity is higher (compared with the previous quarter) than lower. The RMI averages ratings of current remodeling activity with indicators of future activity.
“Remodelers are responding to calls from homeowners on steadier financial footing than recent years,” said Robert Criner, 2015 chairman of NAHB Remodelers and a contractor from Newport News, Virginia.
The next iteration of IBS and KBIS will be held Jan. 19-21, 2016, in Las Vegas. Future show dates are Jan. 10-12, 2017, and Jan. 9-11, 2018, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
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