PCA projects U.S. housing recovery in 2013

By Lindsey Anderson14 February 2013

The Portland Cement Authority (PCA) chief economist and new president Ed Sullivan projected a positive economic outlook for the second half of 2013, noting total housing starts will reach 954,000 units this year with the possibility of starts surpassing 1.1 million units by 2014.

Speaking during World of Concrete, Jan. 5-8 in Las Vegas, Sullivan painted a positive picture for the second half of 2013, but noted the first two quarters of the year could show declines compared to the same period in 2012.

“About seven or eight years ago, we were among the first to call for a crash in housing,” Sullivan said, “which was based on our understanding of the underpinnings of the economy. I strayed from the herd then, and today I going stray from the herd again. It is important to point out that this potential decline in first quarter growth rates does not signal a weakening in market fundamentals, but rather a hangover from favorable 2012 weather conditions. Stronger gains in cement consumption growth are expected during the second quarter. Although the first half 2013 will be mired in a fiscal cliff hangover, we are decidedly optimistic about second half economic growth, job creation and consumer sentiment – all of which translate into a stronger home sales and starts activity."

Sullivan said residential construction gains will drive cement conumption, citing 8.1 percent growth, which was higher than what was projected in the PCA's fall 2012 report.

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