Thursday, May 08 2014
For decades, the three-bedroom house has been a cornerstone of the American dream. Now, as with the rest of the nation, our area’s real estate profile for new single family homes seems to be changing. And last year we may well have reached a turning point in the national new home market: now four bedrooms seems to have become the new norm!
Last year, a full 48% of new homes—nearly half—were built with at least four bedrooms. That’s quite a jump when you compare it with just four years earlier: in 2009, the figure was 34%. We asked ourselves why the nation’s preferences would have undergone such a sizable shift. A little research revealed some likely answers—and some interesting history behind them.
The Rise of Bigger Homes
The footprint of the average new home built in the U.S. went Yeti in a very short time. In the late 1940s, Postwar America began producing single family homes on a massive scale—with an average size of about 750 square feet. As the economy expanded, so did house sizes until by 1973 the three-bedroom home dominated the new home market (Evansville included). By 2013, average new home sizes had reached 2,701 square feet according to the Census Bureau.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but at the same time the number of bedrooms was increasing, the size of the American household was heading in the opposite direction. The 3.6-person average of the 1940s had, by 2013, contracted to 2.58. That means the living space for each individual had grown by 80%!
House Sizes Shrink, Then Expand Again
In 2009, as a side-effect of the last decade’s real estate market downturn, single family home sizes had retreated by about 6%. But now the economy’s slow recovery has reversed the reversal. According to the most recent report from the National Association of Home Builders, the average size of a new home built in 2013 was 2607 square feet— a 300-square foot increase over just two years earlier.
Fewer New Buyers = Bigger Homes
One of the reasons for the new home market shift toward larger four-bedroom designs can be ascribed to a decrease in the number of first-time homebuyers. Largely due to previous tightening in lending criteria and rising mortgage rates (both trends have at least momentarily stalled in the new home market), the smaller homes favored by first-timers claimed a proportionately smaller chunk of the market.
It’s hard to avoid the general conclusion that what were once considered luxurious additions are effectively today’s norm. The en-suite bathrooms, two-car garages and even three-bedroom homes that would have been out of reach for most of the new home buyers of the past are practically standard fare in 2014. But another fact is that every area differs from every other. If this has you wondering how your home compares with what today’s buyers are looking for in your own neighborhood—why not give me a call? You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Thursday, January 09 2014
For most of us, the appeal of new construction—a brand new home which your family is first to own—is undeniable. The idea of being able to select your own floor plan with a layout you like and upgrades built to order is hard to beat.
But home shoppers looking for new construction in Evansville should be particular. If their future home is to meet expectations, some sophisticated questions should be asked and answered before any agreements are reached.
Home models are usually decked out with the best and most expensive furnishings and finishes, unlike more modest packages, where the unadorned dwelling is delivered without any fancy stuff. When you are viewing a home in a new construction development, be sure to ask how much that specific model costs—as-is. You can bet that the figure will be substantially higher than the most widely-advertised low-end price…and when you question what features create the price differences, you’ll readily determine if those are features you consider indispensable. A little arithmetic, and you’ll know how much your home will run.
Some developers have better reputations than others, and you’ll want to work with the very best. Ask for references, of course, and do your own online investigation. Look at the previous new construction projects the developer has worked on and check whether they’ve had numerous complaints filed against them. Don’t necessarily trust every grumpy comment; but you can tell from the general level of satisfaction what you’re likely to experience.
New construction proceeds as a complex process—one where it pays to monitor progress to confirm that you’re getting exactly what you want (with no changes or alterations accidentally slipping through). Before signing on the dotted line, be sure you understand exactly what the construction process entails, and when and how often you’ll be able to enter the site to monitor progress.
Asking the right questions and monitoring finishing work is key in preventing unwanted surprises when it comes to new construction. If you’re interested in learning more about new homes and developments in our area, I’m just a phone call away! You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Friday, January 04 2013
Building a new home exactly the way you’ve always wanted it may not be as unattainable as it might seem. To take the first step toward making any dream home real, you have to see if it’s practical: map out how much building it today would cost.
Start by nailing down your size requirement. Think of an existing home that feels right for your needs, and ask the owner for its square footage. Decide if you prefer a single or two-story structure, remembering that the smaller roof and foundation size makes a two-story new home less expensive to build.
Add-ons will add up. Make a list of any special features you consider important. While the difference between a standard tub and a $3,500 Jacuzzi tub for the master bathroom may seem unimportant, if you’re dealing with a 2,000 sq ft house, that kind of detail can swell the bottom line significantly. If you want any special materials or architectural details, note them, too (e.g., a rectangular-shaped new home will be simplest to build; holding depth to 32 feet or less will save costly roofing extras).
Now it’s time to contact several local new home contractors to ask for ballpark estimates. They will be able to give you their recent average cost per square foot -- and with the added details you’ve now gathered, they can make more a precise breakdown.
It’s best when building surprises come as no surprise, so most people with experience know to add 10 – 20% to the initial budget. Last-minute change orders and unforeseen problems are the most common overrun culprits.
Buying a lot and building a new home in Evansville can be a satisfying project for those with the patience to see it through. And for everyone else, today’s buying conditions are close to ideal– some of today’s best properties can be purchased for even less than the cost of building would be. If you are in the market, contact me to investigate the latest deals now being offered. You can reach me on my cell phone at 812-499-9234.
Monday, December 31 2012
New single-family home sales soared to its fastest pace in 2 1/2 years, jumping 4.4 percent over last month, as median prices also rose, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.
The sales pace in November for new-home sales was the highest since April 2010, the same time when the federal home-buyer tax credit had expired, the Commerce Department reported.
The median home price of new homes jumped 14.9 percent year-over-year, reaching $246,200.
"New-home sales are gradually picking up momentum as the economy improves," says Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. "Prospective home buyers who have been sitting on the fence for years are moving back into the market due to continuing low mortgage interest rates, attractive pricing and the improving economy.”
NAHB is projecting new-home sales to post a nearly 20 percent increase for 2012 over the previous year. NAHB’s Chief Economist David Crowe says he also expects a similar gain next year, but the “fiscal cliff” could set the housing market back and affect new-home sales and other aspects of the housing market.
Still, the pace of new-home sales is about a quarter from the high reached in July 2005.
For the first time since 2005, new-home construction is expected to add to economic growth this year.
Source: National Association of Home Builders and “New Home Sales Hit Highest Rate Since April 2010,” Reuters (Dec. 27, 2012)
Friday, September 21 2012
Homebuilders haven’t been this confident about sales, the outlook of future sales, and buyer traffic since June 2006, which is right before the housing crisis took hold, a new index shows.
For September, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index, which measures builders’ outlook on current sales, future sales, and buyer demand, reached its highest level in six years. Plus, homebuilders expect the housing recovery to strengthen within the next six months.
Homebuilders say they’ve experienced some of the best sales levels they've had in six years, and buyer traffic has returned to May 2006 levels, the index shows.
"We think things have turned around and this recovery is sustainable," Patrick Newport, an economist with IHS Global Insight, told the Associated Press.
The index has been edging higher since last October, coinciding with reports that show sales and home prices inching up too.
Source: “Index of US Homebuilder Confidence Improves; Builders Anticipate Sales Strengthening into '13,” Associated Press (Sept. 18, 2012)
Monday, June 25 2012
U.S. builders started work on more single-family homes in May and requested the most permits to build homes and apartments in three and a half years. The increase suggests the housing market is slowly recovering even as other areas of the economy have weakened.
The Commerce Department said Tuesday that builders broke ground on 3.2 percent more single-family homes in May, the third straight monthly increase.
Overall housing starts fell 4.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 708,000. But that was entirely because of a 21.3 percent plunge in apartment construction, which can be volatile from month to month.
The government also said April was much better for housing starts than first thought. The government revised the April starts to 744,000 — up from an initially reported 717,000 and the fastest building pace since October 2008.
And builders are more optimistic about the next 12 months. They requested more permits to build homes, a gauge of future construction. Permits increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 780,000 — the most since September 2008.
Even with the gains, the rate of construction and the level of permits requested remain roughly half the pace considered healthy. Yet the increases add to other signs that the home market may finally be starting to recover nearly five years after the housing bubble burst.
Builders have grown more confident since last fall, in part because more people are expressing an interest in buying a home. Cheaper mortgages and lower home prices in many markets have made home buying more attractive. Many economists believe that housing construction could contribute to overall economic growth this year for the first time since 2005.
"We continue to expect housing activity to increase gradually in coming months and residential investment to make a positive ... contribution to GDP growth," said Peter Newland of Barclays
By region of the country, housing starts rose 14.4 percent in the West, but dropped in other parts of the country. The declines primarily reflected the weakness in apartment activity.
Still, the pace of home sales remains well below healthy levels. Economists say it could be years before the market is fully healed.
Many people are still having difficulty qualifying for home loans or can't afford larger down payments required by banks. Some would-be home buyers are holding off because they fear that home prices could keep falling.
The economy is growing only modestly and job creation slowed sharply in April and May. U.S. employers created only 69,000 jobs in May, the fewest in a year.
Though new homes represent just 20 percent of the overall home market, they have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in taxes, according to data from the Home Builders.
Friday, May 25 2012
Sales of new single-family homes in April continued to inch up, increasing optimism in the building industry that a recovery is finally taking hold.
New-home sales rose 3.3 percent in April and were up 9.9 percent year-over-year, according to new Commerce Department housing data released Wednesday.
The increase in April sales activity is in line with other important housing measures that have shown continued, gradual improvement from the first quarter as more consumers look to take advantage of today's low interest rates and affordable home prices," says Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. "In markets where demand is rising, we could be seeing a faster pace of recovery if not for persistently tight lending conditions that are slowing both the building and buying of new homes."
New-home sales rose the most in the Midwest, by 28.2 percent in April, and by 27.5 percent in the West. The Northeast saw new-home sales rise by 7.7 percent in April, while the South posted a 10.6 percent decline last month.
The inventory of new-homes remains historically low at a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace. But housing experts say the record low inventories may prove an eventual boost for future housing prices.
Home prices for new-homes are up nearly 5 percent compared to a year earlier, with the median price at $235,700 from April, the Commerce Department reported.
In another optimistic sign at recovery for the housing market: The National Association of REALTORS® reported Tuesday that sales of existing homes also increased in April, rising 3.4 percent in April compared to March and increasing 10 percent year-over-year.
Source: National Association of Home Builders and “New-Home Sales Amplify Optimism About Housing,” The Wall Street Journal (May 23, 2012)
Friday, May 11 2012
There’s no crystal ball economists can use to forecast the future (in fact, their pronouncements are often so vague you’d think they were using a recently-shaken snow globe).
But Evansville housing prospects may be headed for brighter days if we look for guidance from the people who back their words with action: U.S. builders.
The almost startling news came out in the latest release from the Commerce Department: more permits for beginning work on new homes and apartment complexes were requested in March than for any other month in the last three and a half years! This means that somebody – or, better said, a great many somebodies -- expect demand for new housing to go in the right direction.
They expect this to happen at a rate that is more than 30% higher than the same month a year ago, and that’s the kind of jump that should send a message to those (investors, bankers, economists) who rely on those building permit numbers to tell them something about what’s happening in the real world. It could mean that buyers looking to purchase new homes will soon have even more options.
The good news doesn't stop there. Not only have more residential building permits been requested than in recent history, groundbreakings on new residential construction in March 2012 were also more than 10% higher than in the previous year.
The changing market conditions in the Evansville area are another reason the role of your real estate agent is so important. Navigating the real estate landscape can be a daunting task when you go it alone, but homebuyers have no need to do that. My clients count on reliable assistance every step of the way -- from deciding which home is the right fit, to negotiating the best price, and finalizing the purchase. If you’d like to learn more about how the new homes market looks this week, give me a call! You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or by email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Friday, April 27 2012
Permits for new-home building — a gauge of future demand — reached its highest level last month since September 2008, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
New housing permits rose 4.5 percent in March, reaching an annualized level of 747,000.
But while the future of home building shows signs of picking up, actual construction started last month slowed, the second consecutive month for declines.
Builders broke ground in March on a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 654,000 homes, a 5.8 percent drop from February, the Commerce Department reported. The construction of multifamily homes — those with at least two units — posted a 16.9 percent drop last month while construction of single-family homes dropped slightly at 0.2 percent.
New-home building declined the most in the South — posting a 15.9 percent decline in March — while the Northeast saw a 32.8 percent gain and the Midwest saw a 1 percent increase.
The new-home market continues to struggle to compete against foreclosures and short sales plaguing many markets, which are often sold at big discounts. Coupled with that, new homes tend to be priced about 30 percent higher than previously occupied homes.
While builder confidence has been increasing in recent months, confidence showed a slight decrease in April, the first time it's declined in seven months, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.
"Although builders in many markets are noting increased interest among potential buyers, consumers are still very hesitant to go forward with a purchase, and our members are realigning their expectations somewhat until they see more actual signed sales contracts," says Barry Rutenberg, NAHB chairman.
Source: “U.S. March Housing Starts -5.8% to 654K,” Dow Jones International News (April 17, 2012) and National Association of Home Builders
Monday, April 16 2012
Buying homes and renting them are such distinctly separate aspects of Evansville’s real estate scene that we tend to pay attention only to the sector we are most involved with. We pretty much ignore the other. Renters and real estate investors watch trends in residential rentals, while homeowners and soon-to-be homeowners check on prices and activity in the local home market.
All of which means that it’s easy to overlook how trends in one sector have major impacts on the other. And any sort of residential construction activity – new building or remodeling – has a direct and positive impact on our economy as a whole.
So here’s some good news: this year, rental construction is expected to reach its highest level since 2005. Somehow that may not seem like such a big deal, but despite the way it looks, 2005 is SEVEN years ago (time flies, doesn’t it?)! Those have been seven painful years for most of the construction folks we know, so the change comes as welcome news. It’s also possible that a turnaround could mean that other turnarounds in different areas of the economy may be in the wind.
The apartment experts at NMHC just published something that most of us already suspected. They found that nationally, apartment vacancy rates fell to a decade low of 4.9%. We have already written about how asking rents continue to rise (in March, up .5% from the previous month). The same experts noted that some empty-nesters seem to be increasingly likely to opt for the convenience of apartment living -- even those who could easily afford to buy.
It explains why more investors are stepping up to order the building of new rental homes even as many older apartments and rental homes are being renovated. Add to that recent government moves to encourage lenders to become at least temporary landlords, and the result is real activity. Budgets have been tight for families in recent years, which may have caused them to decide to choose rental homes that were older, hence less expensive. If the economy continues to strengthen, these same families may later be able to afford to look at one of the new rental homes now under construction. It’s likely that many tenants would choose to live in a place that is a product of new construction, or in a complex that has been recently renovated.
All that increased building activity is another sign that the housing market as a whole is waking up. In the longer range, since newer rentals generally cost more money, more would-be tenants will ultimately reconsider the prospect of owning a home – in turn increasing demand for first-time or entry level homes.
Wherever your family falls in theEvansville real estate mix, don’t hesitate to call me when you have a question about the market and what is available for you. You can reach me on my cell phone at 812-499-9234 or email at Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Tuesday, February 28 2012
Great News for housing…FINALLY!
Home sales in the U.S. probably climbed in January to the highest level since May 2010, adding to evidence the housing market is regaining its footing, economists said reports this week will show.
Combined purchases of new and existing houses rose to a 4.97 million annual rate from 4.92 million in December, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. Claims for jobless benefits held near the lowest level since 2008, bolstering consumer confidence, other reports may show.
A strengthening job market, combined with record affordability driven by the drop in home prices and mortgage rates, will probably keep underpinning demand. Nonetheless, the Federal Reserve and Obama administration are striving to find ways to lend the industry additional assistance amid concern that mounting foreclosures will continue to hinder the recovery.
“Home sales have bottomed, and from here on, we should see a moderate pickup,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva, an economist at BNP Paribas in New York. “Hiring is improving slowly, so that’s helping.” More policy efforts are needed as “we still can’t rely on housing to recover on its own,” she said.
The National Association of Realtors will release data on existinghouse sales on Feb. 22. Purchases increased 0.9 percent to a 4.65 million annual rate, following a 4.61 million pace in December, according to the Bloomberg survey median.
Sales of new homes climbed to a 315,000 annual rate from 307,000 the prior month, the survey median showed. The report is due from the Commerce Department on Feb. 24. Last year marked a record low for the industry in data going back to 1963, as builders sold 302,000 homes, down 6.2 percent from 2010.
Reports last week indicated housing is on the mend. Builders broke ground on more homes than forecast in January, helped by warmer weather, and construction permits also advanced. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of builder confidence climbed in February to the highest level since May 2007.
Beazer Homes USA Inc. (BZH) reported that orders jumped 36 percent in the final three months of 2011 from a year earlier, and closings on new houses surged more than 60 percent. The Atlanta-based builder said it expects to sell more properties this year than last.
“While our visibility into the economic conditions for the remainder of the year is limited, I believe that we will benefit from a gradually improving housing market,” Allan Merrill, chief executive officer, said on an earnings call on Feb. 2.
Investors also are upbeat about prospects. The Standard & Poor’s SupercompositeHomebuilding Index (S15HOME) has advanced 21 percent since the end of last year, outpacing an 8.2 percent gain in the broader S&P 500.
Policy makers are working to help distressed homeowners. The top five mortgage lenders this month reached a $25 billion settlement with 49 states and the U.S. government over the use of faulty paperwork in foreclosures.
Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank’s efforts to spur growth are being blunted by impediments to mortgage lending, and called for more steps to heal the housing industry.
“The economic recovery has been disappointing in part because U.S. housing markets remain out of balance,” Bernanke told homebuilders on Feb. 10 in Orlando, Florida. “We need to continue to develop and implement policies that will help the housing sector get back on its feet.”
One asset has been the improvement in employment. The jobless rate fell in January to a three-year low of 8.3 percent, and payrolls rose by 243,000 workers.
Firings are also waning, Labor Department figures may show on Feb. 23. Initial joblessclaims rose last week to 355,000 after reaching a four-year low the prior week, according to the median forecast in the Bloomberg survey.
Greater affordability is also supporting home demand. The National Association of Realtors’measure of whether households earning the median income can afford a median-priced house at current interest rates reached a record in the last three months of 2011.
Among other reports this week, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment rose to 72.8 in February from a preliminary reading of 72.5, economists in the Bloomberg survey predicted. The data will be released Feb. 24.
Bloomberg Survey ============================================================== Release Period Prior Median Indicator Date Value Forecast ============================================================== Exist Homes Mlns 2/22 Jan. 4.61 4.65 Exist Homes MOM% 2/22 Jan. 5.0% 0.9% Initial Claims ,000’s 2/23 18-Feb 348 355 U of Mich Conf. Index 2/24 Feb. F 72.5 72.8 New Home Sales ,000’s 2/24 Jan. 307 315 New Home Sales MOM% 2/24 Jan. -2.2% 2.6% ==============================================================
Tuesday, January 31 2012
January’s typical Evansville homebuyer assumes that buying a pre-owned residence saves money. Period. And in fact, most often that is true. Buyers rightly expect that pre-owned houses are more affordable than comparable new homes for sale. But what about the buyer who can qualify for a slightly higher mortgage? Would it be a better idea for them to also consider new homes for sale rather than to simply fixate on the immediate cash savings that go along with buying an older property?
The fact is, there are both benefits and drawbacks that deserve looking at no matter which choice you wind up making.
One practical advantage to buying new homes for saleis that you know that you and your family will be living in a house built to conform to the latest standards in materials and construction. Evansville building codes are continually adopting advances in energy efficiency and materials sustainability. They automatically reflect the community’s experience with construction techniques: what works and what doesn’t; what lasts longest; what’s safe. With contractors and inspectors both working the insure that new homes for sale are built to code; the result is an extra dose of peace of mind when it comes to the durability you can expect in a new home.
Another advantage to buying a newly built house is the pleasure and convenience of living in a home with brand new features. No time-consuming and costly remodeling will be needed to obtain the extra pride of ownership that go with a sparkling new kitchen and bathrooms boasting the latest fixtures. And it’s often the case that newly-built homes for sale better reflect today’s lifestyle patterns. Twenty-first century floor plans apportion space in ways that agree with most people’s living preferences, so new homes for sale in today’s market are more likely to accommodate modern entertainment systems (just as they frequently leave less space for gigantic dining room tables).
In contrast, one disadvantage to purchasing some of the new homes for sale can be a tradeoff in lot size. Though not always the case, older developments sometimes reflect an earlier era which accommodated smaller populations featuring less crowded landscapes.
Of course it’s your budget that will largely determine which combination of neighborhood and new or pre-owned home that will make the best fit for you and your family. The wisdom of planning carefully before investing hard-earned money in any property goes without saying. Since you are looking forward to many years of occupancy in either a pre-existing or new home for sale, I hope you will contact me for a consultation. I know the area and can help you sort out the choices that are available right now. You can call me at 812-499-9234 or you can email me at Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Monday, December 26 2011
New-home construction and building permits — a future gauge of construction — surged last month, slowly helping to pull the new-home market out of one of its worst years for home building.
Builders broke ground on more homes in November, a 9.3 percent increase over October, reaching the highest level since April 2010, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Year-over-year, new-home starts were up 24.3 percent in November.
Home construction increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 homes in November. However, while it’s an improvement, the rate is still below the 1.2 million home pace that economists consider healthy for the new-home sector.
November’s increase was mostly driven by construction of multi-family homes with at least two units, which soared 25.3 percent in November. Construction of single-family homes increased 2.3 percent for the month.
Building permits jumped 5.7 percent in November, the highest increase since March 2010, with the increase mostly driven by apartment construction permits.
Builders Feeling More Confident
Meanwhile, for the third consecutive month, builder confidence in the new-home market continued to edge up, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for December. The index is at its highest point since May 2010.
While the index reached 21 in December, it is still far below 50, a reading which indicates more builders view conditions as good rather than poor. The index hasn’t reached that point since the housing boom in April 2006.
“While builder confidence remains low, the consistent gains registered over the past several months are an indication that pockets of recovery are slowly starting to emerge in scattered housing markets," Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, said in a statement. "However, the difficulties that both builders and buyers continue to experience in accessing credit for new homes are holding back potential sales even in areas where economic conditions are improving."
Source: “Apartment Construction Spurs 9.3% Jump in Housing Starts, But Level Remains Low,” Associated Press (Dec. 20, 2011); “U.S. Nov. Housing Starts +9.3% to 685K; Consensus +0.3%,” Dow Jones International News (Dec. 20, 2011); and National Association of Home Builders
Tuesday, December 13 2011
CNNMoney.com reports that construction permits saw a modest boom in October.
According to the article, new construction permits sat at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 653,000 for October. This marks a 10.9 percent increase from September’s revised rate of 589,000. The numbers were gathered from the Commerce Department.
Doug Roberts, the chief investment strategist of Channel Capital Research said that even with the jump, the numbers are only speculative. Builders may still be holding back.
“Getting a permit and actually beginning to build a house is the difference between getting engaged and getting married,” said Roberts in the article. “What you have is builders thinking the market might be coming back, so they’re getting permits to make sure they are ready to build if it does.”
A government report supported Roberts’ opinion, showing that new home construction was a bit lower in October. The number of new homes fell slightly by 0.3 percent to an annual rate of 628,000 that month, according to the Commerce Department. The revised annual rate for September was 630,000 units.
“Builders thought they were going to be able to get out there and get some houses done, but then they found that they didn’t necessarily want to make the stone cold commitment and want to put anything in the ground,” Roberts said. “The demand wasn’t there, so they weren’t willing to bet a serious amount of money.”
If there is an increase in demand and the number of forecloses decreases, the article said that more permits could mean more construction.
“But that’s a big ‘if’,” Roberts added.
Even with the prevailing misanthropy of many in the housing market, both permits and construction have seen increases from last year, new construction rising 16.5 percent over October 2010 and building permits rising by 17.7 percent for the same period.
Read more: New Construction Permits Increase By 11 Percent | REALTOR.com® Blogs
Monday, October 24 2011
Last month, home building was at its fastest pace in 17 months, rising 15 percent from August and posting the new-home sector’s best pace since April 2010, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
In September, single-family home building increased 1.7 percent, while apartment building jumped 53.4 percent.
Builders began work on a seasonally adjusted 658,000 homes in September. While that marks a big improvement, the level still remains only about half of the 1.2 million pace that economists consider healthy for the new-home sector.
Builders are continuing to struggle to compete against heavily discounted foreclosures and short sales that are plaguing many markets.
Building permits, which serve as a measure of future building, dropped 5 percent in September, the Commerce Department reported.
Yet, builders seem to be getting more optimistic that the new-home market is showing signs of improvement. The National Association of Home Builders reported on Tuesday that industry sentiment rose in October to 18, the highest level in over a year. However, overall sentiment about the industry remains low--any reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market (a level that hasn’t been reached since April 2006).
Source: “September Home Building Rose 15%, But Permits for Future Homes Fell 5%” Associated Press (Oct. 19, 2011)
Monday, July 25 2011
HIGHLANDVILLE, Mo. (AP) __ A 72,000-sq.-foot private home being built in southwest Missouri will be one of the largest in the United States when it’s completed.
The Springfield News-Leader reported that the home is being built by Steven Huff, who has family ties in Missouri and is chairman of Wisconsin-based TF Concrete Forming Systems.
Not surprisingly it will be built out of the insulated concrete, manufactured and distributed by Huff’s company. Michigan-based Helix also is partnering in the project, providing the steel
Luke Pinkerton, founder of Helix, said the idea was to create a home that uses very low energy, as well as having strong resistance to tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, fire, flood and insect damage.
“What we’re able to do is develop a home that has very, very good insulating properties for heating and cooling,” he said. “It’s very robust and strong.”
Called Pensmore, the home includes two elevators, 13 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, a billiard room, a home theater, a music room and a 1,600-sq.-foot library. Blueprints submitted in 2007 show the main level and second story span 44,641 sq. feet. There are another 23,020-sq. feet in the basement, and the garage is 4,000 sq. feet.
Monday, June 06 2011
After the recent tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and even here in the Tri-State storm resistant homes are getting a lot of attention. In fact, a construction company in Perry County says more and more people are asking about these strong homes.
Wednesday, May 11 2011
With new-home sales down drastically the last few years, builders are scrambling to re-evaluate what buyers today want in new homes. Changing demographics and tighter lending standards are influencing buyers’ purchasing decisions when home-shopping and changing their priorities, industry experts say.
“There is a lot of pressure today to retool,” says Steve Brooks, CEO of Grand Homes. “We have to redesign houses and figure out what kind of product people would want to buy.”
For example, more younger buyers are bypassing the typical suburban tract of homes and showing a stronger preference for urban-style homes closer to the city.
“Trying to keep doing the same cookie-cutter houses is going to be increasingly difficult,” says James Gaines, an economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. “Home builders worry that the demand pool for the suburban home with the quarter-acre lot and the fenced back yard will be shrinking.”
Younger buyers also are saying they don’t need a ton of extra space in a home and that they want spaces configured differently in homes, builders say.
For example, the living room is on it’s way “out,” builders say, as more home owners instead show a preference toward a game room or media room. Plus, more home owners are finding they don’t need a fourth bedroom, which was once in high demand.
However, not all builders believe the “buying small” trend will last.
“With our typical single-family buyers, we’re not seeing them willing to give up much room,” says Bill Darling, a builder in Plano, Texas. “We have seen them willing to put fewer bells and whistles in the homes.”
Some builders are focusing on ways to cut maintenance costs of home ownership too by setting out to build more homes that are more energy efficient.
Source: “Stumped Builders Adjust Their Designs,” RISMedia (May 9, 2011) http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2011050902?OpenDocument
Friday, May 06 2011
After three straight months of declines, sales of new homes got a boost last month, jumping 11 percent, according to the Commerce Department’s latest new-home sales report released Monday.
New-home sales rose in March to a seasonally adjusted rate of 300,000 homes, up from February’s 250,000. However, the number is still far from what economists view as a healthy 700,000-a-year pace for the sector.
The median price of a new home increased 3 percent from February to $213,800. New-home prices are about 34 percent higher than the median price of existing homes, according to economists.
Regionally, new-home sales saw the biggest boost in the Northeast, jumping nearly 67 percent in March. The West saw an increase in new-home sales last month by nearly 26 percent; the Midwest posted a 13 percent increase; and in the South, new-home sales dipped 0.6 percent.
The new-home market continues to be battered by a high number of foreclosures that continue to dampen home prices across the country. With 1.2 million foreclosures forecast this year, the new-home sales market may not see a major turnaround for years, according to RealtyTrac Inc.
However, while residential construction has decreased considerably in recent years, reports have recently shown building permits have increased 28 percent for apartment and condo buildings.
Source: “The number of people who bought new homes jumped 11 pct., but pace is far below healthy level,” Associated Press (April 25, 2011)
Wednesday, April 27 2011
The news coming out of the home construction industry is cautiously positive. We do not think that we have overcome all the problems and obstacles, but all indications are that new home construction rates are on the rise. The report below shows positive signs and we can only hope this trend will continue. - RT
New home construction is picking up just in time for the spring buying season, according to the latest new-home report released on Tuesday from the Commerce Department. Builders broke ground on more new homes in March than in the last six months.
Thursday, August 26 2010
New home construction edged up slightly in July but applications for building permits tumbled to the lowest point in 14 months, a sign of continued stress in housing.
Construction of new homes and apartments rose 1.7 percent in July, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Still, applications for building permits, considered a good sign of future activity, fell 3.1 percent.
A rebound in housing is considered critical for a sustained economic recovery. But builders continue to struggle with weak demand for new homes caused by high unemployment and a glut of foreclosed homes on the market.
The July increase in housing construction pushed total activity to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000 units. Building activity in June was weaker than first reported. It fell 8.7 percent to an annual rate of 537,000 units, the slowest pace since October of last year.
Housing construction got a boost earlier in the year when the government offered buyers up to $8,000 in federal tax credits. But after the incentives expired at the end of April, sales and constructions activity slumped.
Driving the July increase was a 32.6 percent surge in construction of apartments and condominiums, which jumped to an annual rate of 114,000 units. The bigger single-family sector declined 4.2 percent, falling to an annual rate of 432,000 units.
The drop in building permits left applications for new construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 565,000, the slowest pace since May 2009.
Construction activity surged 30.5 percent in the Northeast and was up 10.7 percent in the Midwest. However, construction fell 6.3 percent in the South and was flat in the West.
In advance of the report on housing starts, the National Association of Home Builders reported Monday that its monthly index of builder sentiment dropped to 13 in August. That was the lowest reading in 17 months. Readings below 50 indicate negative sentiment about the housing market.
The last time builders' index was above 50 was in April 2006.
Builders say consumers remain worried about the weak economic recovery and the sluggish jobs market. Among those who are buying, many are opting for deeply discounted foreclosed properties.