I get a lot of questions as to what is going to happen in 2011. I have to admit I’m basically an optimist so I really believe that we are going to see a better recovery than is being forecast. I don’t see a boom, but I do think we could see GDP approaching 4% growth rather than the 2.5% that I’ve been hearing. That may not sound like much, but it is a sixty percent improvement, nothing to scoff at. It won’t stop the job issue in the near term, although I’m told anything over about 3% means job growth. Job growth of any kind will further stimulate the economy. Kind of feeds on itself, growing economy means job growth, which means more economic growth, which means more job growth. Isn’t free enterprise great!
In addition for the replacement window industry two major research studies, one by Ducker Research, sponsored by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association, and one done by the Harvard Housing Research Center; both are forecasting 10%+ gains in sales next year – thank goodness. Since our window industry started into the recession early, sometime in 2006, we seem to be coming out earlier than many other industries and not much could make us happier. It’s been the most difficult recession for this industry I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been part of the industry since it began in the early 1960’s.
I’ve also been asked about the Energy Star Program for next year and there are still some unanswered questions. As you may know the Energy Tax Credit is set to expire at the end of this year. As you may also know, some areas of the country need more than just an Energy Star approved window to earn the tax credit. The question is whether or not the tax credit, or a variation on the theme, will be re-instated for next year. There are bills pending to extend it, but who knows what will happen. There is also talk that if this lame duck Congress doesn’t extend it, that it is likely to happen with the new Congress come the first quarter. If I were buying windows now or even well into next year, that could not be installed until next year, thus missing the tax credit opportunity, I would buy tax credit approved windows even though Energy Star windows may be quite acceptable for my location. The chance that the tax credit or a variation is approved next year sounds pretty likely, so why take the chance of not qualifying if it does get extended?
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