Wolf, the largest supplier of kitchen cabinets in the U.S., reported a score of 53.00 on its Key Buyer Index (KBI) for January, a slight increase from the December KBI of 51.43.
The January KBI reflects most likely a combination of continued optimism about the health of the residential construction market in the eastern U.S.--the area most serviced by Wolf--tempered by seasonal concerns about the potential impact of winter weather on the industry.
Wolf developed KBI, a proprietary metric that offers a monthly snapshot of independent dealers' sentiments, to provide a concrete measure of how building materials buyers see the near-term future of their industry.
Wolf gathers data for the KBI from a monthly survey of key buyers at independent building materials dealers across 21 states.
A KBI score of 50 reflects a neutral outlook; a score above 50 reflects a positive outlook; and a score below 50 reflects a negative outlook.
The building product portion of the January KBI score is 58.33. The kitchen and bath KBI, meanwhile, is a more modest 50.00.
The optimistic building product score is most likely the result of three elements: an increased optimism on the part of the building product buyers; Wolf's successful winter buy program in which customers were asked to place first-quarter orders for decking, railing, exterior moulding, and trim in return for concessions on pricing and terms; and anticipation of the extra demand that will arise as a result of Hurricane Sandy.