Where do remodelers, their subcontractors or customers generally purchase materials for projects? The National Association of Home Builders recently posed this question to remodelers across the country in its quarterly Remodeling Market Index (RMI) survey. Although subcontractors and customers purchase materials too, it turns out that remodelers often know where these products are being purchased. Remodelers were asked to identify sources for the following 24 materials:
About 28 percent of remodelers reported that materials are purchased from specialty retailers, followed by lumber yards (26 percent reporting), wholesale distributors (21 percent), home improvement centers (8 percent), manufacturer’s distribution centers (4 percent), and directly from factories (3 percent). Another 10 percent of remodelers reported that they do not know where their subcontractors purchase materials (Exhibit 1).
Exhibit 1: Where Do You, Your Subcontractors, or Customers Generally Purchase Materials for Remodeling Projects? Average for 24 Products
When examining each product category by its source, there are some trends worth mentioning. For example, it is apparent that materials considered as home finishes, such as carpeting, countertops, and appliances, are mostly purchased from specialty retailers (Exhibit 2).
Exhibit 2: Share of Remodelers That Reported Material Purchases from Specialty Retailers (Cases where at least 30% of remodelers reported the material is purchased from Specialty Retailers)
It is no surprise that most lumber materials are purchased from lumber yards (Exhibit 3). At least 85 percent of each of the following lumber products are purchased at lumber yards: engineered lumber & I-joists, sawn (dimension) lumber, and plywood & OSB. A substantial percentage of remodelers reported that house wrap is also purchased at lumber yards (74 percent). Lumber yards are also the most popular place to purchase the following: trusses (66 percent of remodelers reporting), trim & other millwork (58 percent), siding (41 percent), and windows & doors (39 percent).
Exhibit 3: Share of Remodelers That Reported Material Purchases from Lumber Yards (Cases where at least 30% of remodelers reported the material is purchased from Lumber Yards)
A considerable share of remodelers reported that materials are purchased from wholesale distributors. Of the materials displayed in Exhibit 4, wholesale distributor is the most popular source for plumbing fixtures, roofing, electrical, and gypsum wallboard. For many of these materials, the second most popular place to purchase is at specialty retailers.
Exhibit 4: Share of Remodelers That Reported Material Purchases from Wholesale Distributors (Cases where at least 30% of remodelers reported the material is purchased from Wholesale Distributors)
It is important to also highlight that 51 percent of remodelers reported that hand & power tools are purchased from home improvement centers, which is significantly more than the second most popular place for this product category, specialty retailers (20 percent).
For some materials, a significant share of remodelers reported that they ‘Don’t know where subs/customers purchase’ from. This includes HVAC equipment & ducts (37 percent), electrical (26 percent), and insulation (23 percent).