While spring season for Home Depot is always a time to hire additional staff members, it says it is strongly benefiting from the recovering housing market as well. The Atlanta-based retail chain says it plans to hire 80,000 additional staff members and although some may only fulfill seasonal positions for upcoming spring and summer, Home Depot expects to be able to offer permanent positions to others.
Home Depot currently has over 2,200 stores nationwide and employs over 300,000 people, but with their double-digit profit increases over 2013, it says it can use some help serving its customers. In addition, their stock has risen 14 percent in the past year up to $76.70. According to Home Depot, they have strongly benefited from the U.S. housing market in the past year, which is in the process of recovering at the moment.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is America’s largest trade association and reported that home sales in 2013 were highest since 2006 with a total of 5.09 million sales throughout the U.S. The close of the housing boom in 2006 reached 6.48 million sales. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says, “Home sales have risen nearly 20 percent since 2011 and this is mainly thanks to the job growth and a record low mortgage interest rate. The housing market improved a lot in 2013, although we lost some of the momentum in December due to disappointing job growth.”
The rise in home sales has led consumers to take on new housing construction projects, as they are confident to invest in their new or existing home. In addition, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development states that new construction projects in 2013 have risen 18.3 percent, creating additional opportunities for retailers like Home Depot to benefit from the recovering housing market.
Steve Brown, president of NAR; however, says that it is not just up to consumers and job growth to keep a hold of the recovery that is now seen within the housing market. “Job opportunities are expected to grow in 2014, so it may be possible to maintain the recovery. There are still a few things that could hold it back though. One of these things is the ongoing issue with mortgage credits that are becoming more restrictive. As new mortgage rules are being applied, we will closely keep track of the lending environment to make sure that people with the financial means are able to get a loan they need to buy the home they want,” Brown explains.
LendingTree matches mortgage lenders with borrowers and says a recent survey shows that most home owners are worried about the increasing interest rates that are expected for 2014, making it possibly more difficult to afford new homes. The Conference Board agrees with LendingTree and states the growth should be able to remain steady at least until spring, unless decisions in Washington will hurt consumer and therefore also business like Home Depot.
In the meantime, Home Depot does everything it can to benefit from the momentum of the recovering housing market. The retail chain says job seekers can apply through the retailer’s website and job opportunities vary based on demand and weather in local markets.
By Diana Herst