Construction industry leaders are preparing for increased
business and a stronger economy, according to recent research.
The survey of nearly 3,000 members of the construction industry
was commissioned by Hanley Wood, a business-to-business media firm
and publisher of Pool & Spa News. When asked how they would
rate the strength of the U.S. economy, 12 percent of respondents
characterized the current economy as strong, while 29 percent said
they anticipate a strong economy by the end of 2013. More than
half, 55 percent, expect a strong U.S. economy by 2015.
Respondents perceived a polarized political landscape and the
federal debt as having the biggest negative impact on business.
Members of the pool and spa industry are optimistic as well, but
their response is more tempered.
“It’s only been a year or so since the
recession,” said Bill Drakeley, owner of Drakeley Swimming
Pool Co. in Bethlehem, Conn. “Give us a couple more years and
A common theme of the pool builders was that the market is
recovering, but it has a long way to go to reach its pre-recession
“We’re getting more remodels and a few more pools
than last year,” said Dan Braun, owner of Del Rancho Pool and
Spa near San Diego. “But our business is still only 20
percent of what it was at the peak.
“In California, we really got killed by the real estate
market, so it’ll be a slow recovery. But we’ll come
In the Hanley Wood survey, builders of single-family homes were
among the most optimistic respondents. Sixty-one percent said they
thought 2013 revenue would be up from the 2012 numbers, with 41
percent believing revenue would climb more than 10 percent. They
think that on average, they’ll build 21 percent more homes in
2013 than they did this year.
The latest government figures support this optimism. A U.S.
Commerce Department report released Nov. 1 stated that residential
construction spending in September increased by 2.8 percent over
August’s figures. Construction spending overall in September
was up 0.6 percent from August.
The sticking point in the pool and spa industry outlook is
financing, as it has been for several years. There’s a strong
demand for pools, but comparatively few prospective buyers qualify
“The percentages are low on people getting their loans
approved — it’s a real tough little nut lately,”
said Dave Allen, owner of Erickson Pools in Clermont, Fla.
“But it’s better than it was three or four years ago,
and definitely better than last year.”