Qualified Remodeler Magazine

JUN 2019

Qualified Remodeler helps independent remodeling firms to survive, become more professional and more profitable by providing must-have business information, namely best business practices, new product information and timely design ideas.

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government subsidies and other economic programs. Those charges, however, are being con- tested by a newly formed alliance of distrib- utors, dealers, contractors, installers and importers of ready-to-assemble (RTA) cab- inets. That alliance, known as the American Coalition of Cabinet Distributors (ACCD), recently launched to fight the antidumping and countervailing duty petitions, since im- position of the duties, the ACCD says, could effectively "wipe out" the RTA market seg- ment from the U.S. marketplace "by taking advantage of anti-China trade sentiment." Both the U.S. International Trade Commission and the Commerce Dept. must reach affirmative final determinations for import penalties to be formally issued. Their decisions, part of a multi-stage investigatory process, come at different times and will like- ly not be concluded until the spring of 2020. Trade officials are mulling separate cases involving a wide range of Chinese, Turkish and Indian ceramic, porcelain tile and quartz products commonly used for flooring, walls, paving and other kitchen/bath applications. Market Indicators Ceramic tile trade dispute splits industry A pair of industry coalitions are at odds over whether U.S. trade officials should impose antidumping and countervailing duties on ceramic and porcelain tile products that are imported from China. The sharply opposing viewpoints came to light this month, weeks aƁer an alliance of eight U.S. ceramic tile producers filed antidumping and countervailing duty pe- titions with the Commerce Dept. and the U.S. International Trade Commission in an effort to impose unfair trade penalties on virtually all ceramic and porcelain tile products imported from China. The petitions were filed by the Coalition for Fair Trade in Ceramic Tile, a manufacturing alliance that includes American Wonder Porcelain, Florida Tile, Crossville, Florim USA, Daltile Corp., Landmark Ceramics, Del Conca USA and StonePeak Ceramics. In response to the April filing, a new- ly formed coalition, the Ceramic Tile Alliance (CTA)—a broad-based orga- nization of North American import- ers, distributors, retailers and design professionals—announced it was strongly opposed to the potential duties. If imposed, the CTA charges this would "jeopardize the long-term health and growth of the entire ceramic tile industry against other compet- ing floor and wall products." The opposing viewpoints regarding an- tidumping and countervailing duties for Chinese tile imports mirrors the battle currently underway in the U.S. cabinet in- dustry, where advocates and opponents of antidumping and countervailing duties— manufacturers vs. distributors—have lined up on either side of the emotionally charged issue. Decisions in both cases are scheduled at various times throughout the year, with final determinations expected to be an- nounced by the spring of 2020. The unfair-trade petitions filed by the Coalition for Fair Trade in Ceramic Tile seek the imposition of penalizing duties of more than 400 percent on virtually all Chinese im- ports of ceramic and porcelain floor tiles, mosaics and decorative wall tiles. Market Indicators Existing-home sales hold steady Existing-home sales saw a minor decline in April, continuing a drop from March, accord- ing to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Two of the four major U.S. regions saw a slight dip in sales, while the West saw growth and the Midwest essentially bore no changes last month. Total existing-home sales—complet- ed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co- ops—fell 0.4 percent from March to a sea- sonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million in April. Total sales are down 4.4 percent from a year ago (5.43 million in April 2018). Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, says he is not overly concerned about the 0.4 percent dip in sales and expects moderate growth very soon. "First, we are seeing historically low mortgage rates combined with a pent-up demand to buy, so buyers will look to take advantage of these conditions," he explains. "Also, job creation is improving, caus- ing wage growth to align with home price growth, which helps affordability and will help spur more home sales." The median existing-home price for all housing types in April was $267,300, up 3.6 percent from April 2018 ($257,900). April's price increase marks the 86th straight month of year-over-year gains. Total housing inventory at the end of April increased to 1.83 million, up from 1.67 million existing homes available for sale in March and a 1.7 percent increase from 1.80 million a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 3.8 months in March and up from 4.0 months in April 2018. Source: National Association of Realtors, 2019. * Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate Existing-Home Sales* (April 2018 - April 2019) $5.43 $5.40 $5.39 $5.39 $5.35 $5.18 $5.22 $5.21 $5.0 $4.93 $5.48 $5.21 $5.19 JUN OCT FEB APR (P) JUL NOV APR AUG DEC MAY SEP JAN MAR (R) $6.0 $5.5 $5.0 $4.5 $4.0 $3.5 $3.0 $2.5 $2.0 $1.5 $1.0 $0.5 $0 MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN BRIEF 10 June 2019 QualifiedRemodeler.com

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