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What happened in Vegas could soon be coming to your home. The 2015 National Association of Homebuilders (nahb.org) International Builders’ Show’s (IBS) featured 55,237 attendees during the three-day event held recently in Las Vegas.

It was just part of Design & Construction Week that included the National Kitchen and Bath Association with their Kitchen and Bath Industry Show along with the the International Surface Event, International Window Coverings Expo and the Las Vegas Market for furniture and home decor.

While this year’s event featured plenty of bright lights and shiny things out on the show floor, that wasn’t the only thing to focus on. A revamped education program featured more than 100 sessions taught by renowned building industry experts from across the country and topics ranged from sales and marketing to construction and codes.

One of the most informative sessions was the 2015 Housing and Economic Outlook, highlighting some of the housing industry’s most influential economists. According to them, we currently have a pent-up demand and low inventory of new homes, which mirrors the outlook here in Michigan I highlighted in my column last week.

Frank Nothaft, chief economist and vice president of Freddie Mac, stated we should see a stronger economy in 2015 along with an uptick in housing starts. He said the increase in housing starts will be helped along by home mortgage interest rates that “are dirt cheap” at 3.75 percent at the time of the conference.

While the educational sessions and speakers helped give me the national perspective on the housing market and industry, I still enjoy seeing all the new and unique products that the exhibitors are featuring. Here are some of my favorites:

Fin Pan Inc., finpan.com, introduced its ClearPath curbless shower pan system at its exhibit booth. This product enables homeowners to have a barrier-free shower entry that requires no structural modifications to the existing floor joist system. The drain plate comes with integrated drain assembly, waterproofing mat and is pre-pitched for proper sloping.

The Enovative Group, enovativegroup.com, highlighted its On-Demand Recirculation System that provides on-demand hot water delivery to any faucet or plumbing fixture in the house. The on-demand pump system will work in any situation, whether it is a tank or tankless water heater, with or without a return line or an existing pump. In addition to allowing you to get water instantly, it also saves energy and water consumption.

UGLs Drylok, drylock.com, was highlighting a new Clear Masonry Waterproofer, the first non-pigmented masonry waterproofer specifically formulated for use on bare masonry floor and wall surfaces. The product also provides a durable, waterproof, easy to clean, non-yellowing high-gloss finish and incorporates environmentally safe green biocides to resist the growth of mildew.

Kwikset, kwikset.com, introduced its new Kevo lock that allows you to use your smartphone as a key. Instead of digging out your key to open the door, you can keep your phone in your pocket or purse and just touch the lock to open it. Kevo is now available on Apple iOS and select Android 5.0 and Lollipop devices. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can get a key fob to use similar to a car fob, and get the same touch-to-open convenience.

The Acous-Tec Sound Reducing Liquid Underlayment Patch and Leveler from W.F.Taylor Co., wftaylor.com, is designed for all floating floor systems (vinyl tile/plank, laminate and wood) to reduce sound transmission. Acous-Tec also controls moisture levels, patches up to 1/8 inch cracks, levels substrate unevenness and enhances thermal insulating properties of the floor.

This is the second consecutive year that attending the IBS gave me the feeling we are on the upswing nationally in the home building market. And since home building is a vital part of our economy, it shows that consumer confidence is up and people are starting to spend again, another indicator that our economy is on the mend.

If you would like to suggest a question for this column, e-mail askglenn@masterhandyman.com. If you want to talk to Glenn Haege, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can be heard on more than 130 radio stations.

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