The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and John Burns Real Estate Consulting released the 2019 first-quarter Kitchen and Bath Market Index (KBMI), revealing strong growth in the kitchen and bath sectors, and forecasting a positive outlook for the second quarter and the year as a whole.

This quarterly industry index gauges the economic pulse of the kitchen and bath market, examining current conditions and future expectations in the industry. It also monitors issues and challenges industry professionals are facing in their businesses. The KBMI surveys and analyzes the sentiments of designers, manufacturers, retailers and building/construction firms who are members of the NKBA.

“As the leading trade association and advocate for the kitchen and bath industry, we continuously invest in research to provide guidance on performance, projections and challenges in the sector for our members and the market,” said Bill Darcy, NKBA CEO. “We’re pleased to see that despite a softening in housing, the KBMI indicates positive growth and an optimistic sales outlook in the kitchen and bath sectors. John Burns Real Estate Consulting is the preeminent research analysis partner in the housing space and we embarked on this joint venture to provide a reliable and frequent metric of industry performance and business health to our members and the market.”

“We are thrilled to partner with NKBA to monitor this important segment of the economy,” said Todd Tomalak, senior vice president of research for John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “We view Kitchen & Bath as a critical gauge of discretionary consumer spending, and this new index will allow analysts to monitor the segment with more confidence than ever before.”

The KBMI’s first-quarter report found the following:

• Strong Q1 growth: The kitchen and bath industry composite index currently rates at a 71 out of 100. This reflects growth and optimism in three main components of the index: the current quarter, future market sales and overall health.

Positive 2019 outlook: The industry is more positive on future business conditions (76 out of 100 index reading) than on current conditions (68 index reading).

56% of industry expects growth in Q2 2019: The industry expects second-quarter business conditions to improve. This is especially expressed by manufacturers and building/construction companies, which are the most optimistic about quarterly sales.

Labor challenges remain a top concern: The availability of skilled labor tops the list of industry challenges and concerns. The cost of materials, trade issues, economic uncertainty and consumer confidence are also significant concerns for industry professionals in the first quarter.