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5 Trends and Takeaways from the 2018 Sunbelt Builders Show

The Sunbelt Builders Show, one of the largest building industry events in North America, brings together more than 2,000 construction leaders. The two-day event is an opportunity for builders to see products up-close, network and learn what’s next in the trade.

Fypon attended the 2018 show in Dallas, Texas and rounded up our top five trends and takeaways.

#1 Builders are looking for alternative products.

While many builders have preferred products, volatile lumber pricing combined with a decreased labor pool are causing builders and contractors to expand their product offerings. More durable wood alternatives, such as polyurethane, PVC or fiber-cement, offer more stable pricing and are now available for siding, decking, moulding, millwork, railing systems, and more. These alternative products take the frustration and uncertainty out of lumber prices that fluctuate from when you spec to when you build.

#2 There's no substitute for seeing and feeling a building product in-person

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Online catalogs and websites are wonderful for product specs, pictures and descriptions, but in the end, nothing compares to holding the product. Attending events like the Sunbelt Builders Show only reinforces this point. We see that this is particularly true for products with more intricate details or special finishes, such as woodgrain.

“Shows like Sunbelt provide builders and contractors with the opportunity to see the quality of products and details that a photo simply can’t capture in the same way,” said Michelle Furman, a Fypon specialist in Texas, who attended the 2018 Sunbelt Builders Show.

#3 Column wraps and beams continue to be a popular choice among builders and homeowners.

Details like column wraps or beams can add that “wow factor” homeowners are looking for, and are one of our most popular products. The benefit of these products — in the case of Fypon’s column wraps and beams — is that they are easy to install, resistant to warping, cracking and insects and look nearly indistinguishable from their wood counterparts. With Fypon faux beams, no additional structural support is required, which makes for easy installation and equates to less time and labor costs — a primary reason builders are adding these products to their go-to product list (refer to point #1.)

#4 Changes in how today’s homeowners look for and purchase a home are causing the industry to adapt.

According to the Zillow Group’s 2017 Consumer Housing Trends Report, Millennials make up 42% of the homebuying market, compared to 31% who are Gen X and 16% who are Baby Boomers. This shift is influencing how the industry markets and caters to the needs of these buyers.

In a presentation by Avid Ratings’ Paul Cardis, he discussed how builders can no longer rely on quality products and services alone. Cardis argued that in the age of the experience economy, builders need to be transparent to help create trust among Millennials and Gen Xers. A key factor in generating that trust is providing details about what products are being used in the homebuyers’ house, including product sustainability, reviews and customization options.

#5 Ratings and reviews are essential to today’s homebuyers

Potential buyers are looking beyond the 5-star rating — they want stories. They want to hear from real customers about their experience — what people liked and didn’t like — to help in that decision-making process. Detailed reviews with anecdotes and photos can make one builder stand out over another.