Market Survey: Residential Market

Despite Pandemic, Western Steep-Slope Roofing Market Going Strong

by Marc Dodson, editor


Given the current COVID-19 fears and restrictions, it may not have been anyone’s prediction six months ago, but the steep-slope market is alive, well, and growing in the West. People that are home-bound may want to improve their current home, buy a second home, move, or just take advantage of the extremely low interest rates and refinance options. Western roofing contractors are busy trying to keep up with the demand.

Reports from contractors throughout the West show a sustained improvement in new residential roofing, and steep-slope reroofing also continues to rise. New steep-slope construction projects around the West are being built and roofed. While there may be a few areas where construction is slower to recover than the others, we’re pretty much hearing the same report all around the West. New steep-slope construction projects and reroofing projects are definitely on the rise.


The Market

We’re hearing reports of prices on existing homes increasing monthly. People are on the move, whether it is into existing homes, new homes, remodeling, or reroofing their abodes. This activity has increased the demand for residential roofing significantly. If a roofing contractor specializes in steep-slope roofing, then this is the market for which they’ve been waiting, and the West seems to be doing much better that the rest of the nation.

Many manufacturers of steep-slope reroofing and recover products have told us that they are very busy. Some have cut back on production, either out of misreading the market demand or because of COVID-19 restrictions enacted by local governments. Either way, we’re hearing of material shortages as the supply pipeline is sucked dry. In the past month, shortages were also being caused by storms on the East Coast. Roofing and building materials are being diverted where they are needed most.

This year, the Western steep-slope market will probably account for about 42% of the roofing pie. While this is a slight decrease from the previous year, it’s been picking up speed these last few months. This opinion is expressed by a number of sources, including industry experts, construction industry associations, financial institutions, and our own surveys.


Residential Mix

Custom homes began its resurgence a few years ago and that trend continues. Custom homes and upscale tract homes are again being built. This is excellent news for contractors and manufacturers specializing in slate and tile. The construction and sale of single-family homes has been increasing, while work on multifamily residences has also increased as baby boomers move to smaller, upscale condos.


Reroofing & New Construction

While reroofing continues to dominate the Western steep-slope market, this year new construction will take an increasingly larger share. Reroofing will capture a predicted 49% of the total Western residential volume. This is down slightly from last year as new construction projects continue to increase. Repairs and maintenance will again account for 20%, the same as last year. The remaining 31% goes to new construction, up slightly from the previous year.


Product Mix

The most popular steep-slope roofing product installed in the West is, was, and remains, and probably always will be for the foreseeable future, fiberglass shingles, with a whopping 62.8% of the market. This market percentage for fiberglass shingles is up slightly from last year. Metal, concrete tile, clay tile, and slate remain approximately the same as last year. All this sounds good, but as mentioned previously, we’re hearing of material shortages, particularly fiberglass shingles and concrete tile.


Down the Road

What lies ahead for the remainder of 2020 and beyond? There are many unknowns, including the upcoming elections, the current pandemic, the worldwide economic climate, and the ongoing quest to find enough willing bodies to work on the roof.

The construction industry is currently experiencing a steady upswing in both low-slope and steep-slope construction projects. The resale of existing homes is also on the increase, many spending less time on the market, and selling at higher prices than once expected. While reroofing will always remain the dominant portion of the market, we’re seeing more and more new construction on the boards. The majority of industry sources seem to agree that this trend will continue for the immediate future.