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Builder Confidence Soars to an All-Time High, Lumber Risks Remain

Builder Confidence Soars to an All-Time High, Lumber Risks Remain

Although lumber prices remain high - up 170% since April - builder confidence also remains high. In fact it is as at all time high of 83. Indicating that housing continues to lead the way in this pandemic recovery. Continue reading below for the full article from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Builder Confidence Soars to an All-Time High, Lumber Risks Remain

(NAHB) In a strong signal that housing is leading the economic recovery, builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes increased five points to hit an all-time high of 83 in September, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. The previous highest reading of 78 in the 35-year history of the series was set last month and also matched in December 1998.

“Historic traffic numbers have builders seeing positive market conditions, but many in the industry are worried about rising costs and delays for building materials, especially lumber,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke, a custom home builder from Tampa, Fla. “More domestic lumber production or tariff relief is needed to avoid a slowdown in the market in the coming months.”

“Lumber prices are now up more than 170 percent since mid-April, adding more than $16,000 to the price of a typical new single-family home,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “That said, the suburban shift for home building is keeping builders busy, supported on the demand side by low interest rates. In another sign of this growing trend, builders in other parts of the country have reported receiving calls from customers in high-density markets asking about relocating.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 35 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

All the HMI indices posted their highest readings ever in September. The HMI index gauging current sales conditions rose four points to 88, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months increased six points to 84 and the measure charting traffic of prospective buyers posted a nine-point gain to 73.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast increased 11 points to 76, the Midwest increased nine points to 72, the South rose eight points to 79 and the West increased seven points to 85.

HMI tables can be found at nahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at https://www.nahb.org/News-and-Economics/Housing-Economics-PLUS.

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Builder Confidence Remains Firm in September

Builder confidence remains strong as reported in this recent article from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Builders remain optimistic that demand for newly built homes will remain high for the immediate future due in part to an influx of buyers with the millennials entering the home buying market for the first time, lower lumber prices, and a continued shortness of available used homes. 

While confidence remains steady, there are some concerns about affordability and the exception that interest rates will rise as the economy remains strong. You can read the full article below.

Builder Confidence Remains Firm in September

(NAHB), 

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes remained unchanged at a solid 67 reading in September on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).

“Despite rising affordability concerns, builders continue to report firm demand for housing, especially as millennials and other newcomers enter the market,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a custom home builder from LaPlace, La. “The recent decline in lumber prices from record-high levels earlier this summer is also welcome relief, although builders still need to manage construction costs to keep homes competitively priced.”

“A growing economy and rising incomes combined with increasing household formations should boost demand for new single-family homes moving forward,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “However, housing affordability is becoming a challenge, as builders face overly burdensome regulations and rising material costs exacerbated by an escalating trade skirmish. Interest rates are also forecasted to keep rising.” Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

The HMI index measuring current sales conditions rose one point to 74 and the component gauging expectations in the next six months increased two points to 74. Meanwhile, the metric charting buyer traffic held steady at 49.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast rose one point to 54 and the South remained unchanged at 70. The West edged down a single point to 73 and the Midwest fell three points to 59.

Editor's Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public. HMI tables can be found at nahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at housingeconomics.com.

Housing Starts Reach Post-Recession High in May as Permits Soften

Housing Starts Reach Post-Recession High in May as Permits Soften

In this recent article from the National Association of Home Builders, housing starts reached a post-recession high in May. Housing starts rose 5% to an adjusted annual rate of 1.35 million units - the highest since July 2007. Permits have dropped however, pointing to a decrease in future housing activity. Continue reading the full article below.

Housing Starts Reach Post-Recession High in May as Permits Soften

(NAHB), Total housing starts rose 5 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.35 million units, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Commerce Department. This is the highest housing starts report since July 2007.

While housing production numbers rose, overall permits — which are a sign of future housing production activity — dropped 4.6 percent to 1.3 million units in May. Single-family permits fell 2.2 percent to 844,000 while multifamily permits fell 8.7 percent to 457,000.

“Ongoing job creation, positive demographics and tight existing home inventory should spur more single-family production in the months ahead,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “However, the softening of single-family permits is consistent with our reports showing that builders are concerned over mounting construction costs, including the highly elevated prices of softwood lumber.”

The May reading of 1.35 million is the number of housing units builders would begin if they kept this pace for the next 12 months. Within this overall number, single-family starts rose 3.9 percent to 936,000 — the second highest reading since the Great Recession. Meanwhile, the multifamily sector — which includes apartment buildings and condos — rose 7.5 percent to 414,000 units.

Year-to-date, single-family and multifamily production are respectively 9.8 percent and 13.6 percent higher than their levels over the same period last year. The year-to-date metric can help compare performance data over a specific time period and show growth trends.

“We should see builders continue to increase production to meet growing consumer demand even as they grapple with stubborn supply-side constraints, particularly rising lumber costs,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a custom home builder from LaPlace, La.

Regionally, the Midwest led the nation with a 62.2 percent increase in combined single- and multifamily housing starts. Starts fell 0.9 percent in the South, 4.1 percent in the West and 15 percent in the Northeast.

Looking at regional permit data, permits rose 42.1 percent in the Northeast and 7.2 percent in the Midwest. They fell 4.6 percent in the West and 13.9 percent in the South.

Housing Starts Rise 1.9 Percent on Multifamily Surge

In this recent article from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) housing starts have risen by 1.9% due to a surge in multi family production which was up 14.4% in March, the highest reading since December 2016.

Builder Confidence Remains Solid in June

Builder confidence remains steady in June according to this article from the National Association of Home Builders. Continue reading below to learn more. (NAHB, June 2017) Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes weakened slightly in June, down … Continue reading