New Products Help Adjustment to Housing Slump
“The real estate situation has had a definite impact here.” So said Wilshire Home Entertainment president Mike McMaster, a local L.A.-area hybrid custom retailer who offered the understatement as he was buttonholed in the corridors of the Long Beach EH Expo.
McMaster’s remark was in sync with stats presented at a morning seminar that showed West Coast housing starts January through September down 27.1 percent – more than in the Midwest (-26.5 percent), South (-25.7 percent) and Northeast (-14.5 percent).
But he is optimistic that builders, who he said are “throwing in value-added extras like flooring” in order to break the pattern of buyer ennui, could be made to see the benefits of viewing consumer electronics and home automation as equally alluring pluses that can stimulate sales. “I see a lot of opportunity in helping builders sell existing inventory,” he said. “Why not encourage them to throw in a $10,000 or $15,000 tech allowance?”