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32-37 WORLD RECESSION:SPN Master pages 19/11/08 00:40 Page 7
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The market is flooded with holiday homes
and apartments which no one needs. Why
build any more? This means the next three
years will be very tough”
He said the specialist trade was trying
hard to keep costs under control – difficult
in the context of Spain having to import
large quantities of raw materials for the
manufacture of swimming pools, such as
fiber and plastic. Spain’s main suppliers
are France, Germany and Scandinavia.
“It isn’t all gloom. There is a sign that
at the top of the market pool builders
are doing well on refurbishments. Spa
sales are also healthier than many had
expected- perhaps a sign that families
are selling off second homes and
upgrading their main residence. The
boom days have gone however and that
means we must all work harder”
Through Spain building almost came to a standstill this autumn and supply far exceeded demand
Cut costs and ‘hang in there’ US pool builders are told
Pool construction may have dropped by Over the past year, premium prices have rebound in the US pool market now range
anything up to 50% in the last 18 months dropped 40-45%, he added. anywhere from one to three years.
throughout the United States but pool The Phoenix market, once a bastion of The top 50 Pool builders in the United
specialists have found one way of fighting fast growth, is one of the hardest-hit areas States have seen construction revenue
back – pool renovations and restorations. in the current economic slump, with tumble by nearly 24%, from $1.94bn in ’06
Top builders have turned to renovating builders reporting 60-70% drops in new- to $1.48bn last year. Only three other
former pools as an urgent move to keep pool construction since 2006. Firms that reported growth in 2007.
businesses afloat many for the first time handle strictly residential construction have Florida, saw revenues fall 44%, from
ever. New pool projects may be hard to seen business drop anywhere from 20-65%. $209.2m in 2006 to $117.6m in 2007. The
come by so doing up previous projects has Markets that reaped the greatest bottom has fallen out of pool permit
become something of a priority. benefits in recent years – California, requests in the Sunshine State, according
“We started handling renovations last Arizona and Florida – were among the to the Florida Swimming Pool Association,
autumn,” one pool builder told us. “When hardest hit. which tracks the data. Permit approvals
the phones died, we started cold-calling “It’s getting weaker by the day,” said were down 53% in June 2008 compared
our old customers from 10 or 15 years ago. Tom Nichols, President of Tom Nichols with those issued in June 2006.
We ended up with our first renovation Excavating Inc. in Phoenix. “This is the inevitable correction,” says E.
contract this year. That’s saying something This leaves pool sales at a near standstill. Michael Holland, CEO of Holland Pools &
for a vinyl-liner swimming pool dealer.” “We used to dig 20 pools a day. Now Spa. “I put money away on every job for a
Revenue from renovations climbed from we’re doing maybe three,” Nichols said. time like this so I could spend money. This
$78.1m in 2006 to $122.3m in 2007. Experts in the US are decidedly less is an opportunity for us to grow. When the
The momentum of pool-firm closures optimistic about an industry turnaround, business does come back, I’ll be ready to
seems to be gaining speed. Estimates vary and with good reason. Estimates for a increase my volume dramatically.” spn
regarding the percentage of companies
that have gone under, but some believe
approximately 20% have left the industry.
Others say it’s closer to 50%, if part-time
builders are counted.
Larry McNeely of California Pools, a chain
of pool builders and designers with
locations in California and Arizona, said;
”The overall lack of money being lent to
homeowners wanting to fix or build a pool
has exacerbated the downturn. It’s probably
the worst we’ve ever seen,” he said.
“The pool customers of the near future
will be homeowners who want to fix what
they already own rather than try and buy a
home they can’t afford to keep,” he said.
Foreclosed homes could eventually prove
to be a boon for pool builders when more
begin to sell and homebuyers need to
repair decaying or unfinished pools.
In response to the tough economic
times, insurance companies are scrambling
Florida luxury – the state along with California and Arizona have been the worst hit in the
for business from pool and spa firms, with
United States downturn
many lowering premiums.
Visit our website at www.swimmingpoolnews.co.uk DECEMBER 08 swimming pool news 37
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