Home Builder News

Hong Kong Property Doom Doesn't Begin at 1%

December 1, 2017
Nisha Gopalan - Bloomberg

Hong Kong's one-month interbank rate has reached its highest level since the global financial crisis. But don't expect the city's real estate prices to halt their spiral anytime soon, whatever the International Monetary Fund may say.

Blame banks and property developers.

Around 94 percent of mortgages in the world's least affordable property market are tied to the Hong Kong interbank offered rate, so the surge above 1 percent will cause some pain.


Home Depot Says Slashing Tax Deductions Won't Hurt Housing Boom

November 15, 2017
Matthew Townsend - Bloomberg

Home Depot Inc. isn’t buying the real estate industry’s claims that a provision in the House Republicans’ tax plan to reduce the mortgage-interest deduction would cause U.S. home prices to plummet.

“We don’t see much of an impact,” Home Depot Chief Financial Officer Carol Tome said in an interview Tuesday after the retailer reported third-quarter results. “There is no real empirical evidence that suggests mortgage-interest deductibility is at all correlated to home ownership.”


Homebuilders Slide After GOP Tax Plan Caps Mortgage-Interest Break

November 8, 2017
Sarah Mulholland - Bloomberg

The U.S. real estate industry reeled as the House Republican tax bill proposed capping the mortgage-interest deduction, a long-cherished incentive many Americans have had to buy a house.

The measure would limit the mortgage-interest deduction on newly purchased homes at $500,000 -- a departure from the current cap of $1 million for couples filing jointly, according to a memo written by the House Ways and Means Committee. The National Association of Realtors, which has been wary of the tax plan, said the memo “appears to confirm many of our biggest concerns.”


Homebuilders' Record Deal Belies Industry's Anxiety About Taxes

November 2, 2017
Oshrat Carmiel - Bloomberg

Lennar Corp.’s record takeover of CalAtlantic Group Inc. is a bullish sign for homebuilding in the U.S. Trade groups, meanwhile, worry that lawmakers are about to kneecap the industry.

Lennar said on Monday that it agreed to buy CalAtlantic for about $5.7 billion in cash and stock, a deal that would be the largest merger of U.S. homebuilders. Miami-based Lennar, which will have a stock-market value of about $18.5 billion after the takeover, will leapfrog D.R. Horton Inc. to become the country’s largest builder.


U.S. New-Home Sales Unexpectedly Jump to Highest Since 2007

October 26, 2017
Sho Chandra - Bloomberg

U.S. purchases of new homes unexpectedly surged in September to the highest level in a decade as activity accelerated in the South after hurricanes Harvey and Irma, according to government data Wednesday.


Canadian Homebuilders Are Actually Having a Breakout Year

October 19, 2017
Theophilos Argitis - Bloomberg

For Canada’s real estate developers, 2017 is shaping up to be a comeback year.

Builders are on pace to start work on more than 215,000 new homes. That would be the most since 2007, and a rebound after four straight years below 200,000.

The strength isn’t confined to Toronto. Advances are broad-based, including sharp rebounds in the Prairies and Quebec and elevated levels in British Columbia, in addition to residential construction in Ontario that’s on pace for its best year since 2004.


NYC Developer Races Against Rules That Would Cut Tower in Half

October 11, 2017
Oshrat Carmiel - Bloomberg

Laboring in a hole in the ground on Manhattan’s East 58th Street, Gamma Real Estate’s construction crews don’t quit for the weekend. They’ve been working Saturdays since June, trying to outrun New York City’s bureaucracy.

Gamma is excavating for a planned 799-foot (244-meter) condominium tower near the corner of Sutton Place, and is racing to finish the foundation before a potential rezoning can disrupt its plans. The building’s height is legal under current laws that govern the area. Neighborhood residents, who say it’s too tall for the sliver of Midtown close to the East River waterfront, are trying to change that.


Puerto Rico and the Consequences of Postponed Electrical Grid Upgrades

September 28, 2017
Pam Radtke Russell - Engineering News-Record

The devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico is exhibit “A” in the importance of maintaining and upgrading infrastructure despite the costs of doing so. It has driven home the point that infrastructure is costly, but its benefits are essential to life safety, the economy and human health and comfort. The storm has left almost all the island’s 3.5 million inhabitants without power. They must contend with the prospect of living without electricity for months.

Ms. Russell may be contacted at Russellp@bnpmedia.com


U.S. Housing Starts Steady, Permits Rise Ahead of Hurricanes

September 20, 2017
Sho Chandra - Bloomberg

Steady U.S. new-home construction in August together with a jump in permits indicate the housing market was moving ahead before a likely temporary hit from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, government figures showed Tuesday.


US Postpones Canadian Lumber Tariff Finding

September 14, 2017
Tom Ichniowski - Engineering News-Record

Chances may be improving for resolving a long-running trade dispute over pricing of Canadian softwood-lumber shipments to the U.S. The Trump administration had issued preliminary findings setting stiff tariffs. But Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Aug. 28 said his department was postponing final findings on tariff investigations of Canadian lumber until Nov. 14. The extension gives both sides more time to work out a deal.

Mr. Ichniowski may be contacted at ichniowskit@enr.com


Prolonged Rains Conceal Full Hurricane Harvey Destruction

September 7, 2017
Pam Radtke Russell, Debra K. Rubin, Aileen Cho, & Louise Poirier - Engineering News-Record

As reports trickled in of sinking streets, collapsed bridges, flooded refineries and overtopped dams, engineers, contractors and government officials remained focused on saving lives during the continuing disaster of Hurricane Harvey in Texas before assessing the damage of the storm and subsequent flooding.

Reprinted courtesy of ENR reporters Pam Radtke Russell, Debra K. Rubin, Aileen Cho and Louise Poirier

ENR may be contacted at ENR.com@bnpmedia.com


Harvey Could Reshape How and Where Americans Build Homes

August 30, 2017
Christopher Flavelle - Bloomberg

Jerry Garcia’s home in Corpus Christi missed the worst of Hurricane Harvey by just a few miles and lost nothing more than some shingles and his backyard pier, which turned up further down Oso Bay. A 5-foot bulkhead and sloping lawn shielded it from the flooding that’s devastated parts of Texas.

A home builder, Garcia said he built this place, like all the houses he builds, "above code" -- stronger than the standards required by law, which in Texas tends to be less than in most states. But he doesn’t think those tougher standards should be imposed on every builder.


Where U.S. Homebuyers Are Headed Next

August 24, 2017
Patrick Clark - Bloomberg

According to a new report, the most active metropolitan areas include Chicago, where an inventory logjam appears to be loosening. Also, Colorado Springs, Washington, D.C., and Reno, Nevada, near Tesla’s massive battery factory, which is attracting workers and driving housing demand. The least active metros are San Francisco, where the median home value has topped $1 million, and Rochester, N.Y., where a typical home is worth $177,000.


Texas Is a Homebuilding Machine. And the Rest of the U.S.?

August 17, 2017
Patrick Clark - Bloomberg

In the market for a new home? You’ll fare better if you’re house-hunting in Texas.

Dallas, Houston, and Austin are on pace to build a total of nearly 130,000 new homes in 2017, based on a Trulia analysis of building permits. That’s more than 10 percent of all new construction expected in the U.S. this year, and enough to put all three metropolitan areas in the top five for permitting activity. New York and Phoenix round out the group.


Canadian Home Builders Are on Pace for Best Year Since Recession

August 10, 2017
Theophilos Argitis - Bloomberg

Canadian home construction is on pace for its best year since the 2008-2009 recession, with builders showing no sign of being slowed by rising interest rates or fears of a housing correction.

Work began on an annualized 222,324 homes in July, the third-fastest monthly pace since 2012, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported Wednesday. Starts have averaged about 215,000 in 2017, which puts the industry on track for the most new residential construction since 2007 if the current pace continues.


Tests After Grenfell Tower Fire Show Flaws in 82 UK Towers

August 2, 2017
Peter Reina - Engineering News-Record

Fire tests prompted by the June 14 fire that caused at least 80 known deaths at London's 24-story Grenfell Tower suggest that 82 apartment blocks around the U.K. have external aluminum cladding systems that do not comply with current building regulations.

Mr. Reina may be contacted at reina@btinternet.com


The Best Way to Increase Housing Supply? Build More

July 26, 2017
Patrick Clark - Bloomberg

It’s widely agreed that housing markets across the U.S. are hurting for new inventory, driving up prices and postponing homeownership for young Americans. What’s driving the inventory shortage is a murkier matter.

A new report from Trulia tests some popular explanations and comes to this conclusion: We’re going to have to build our way out of it.


U.S. Housing Starts at Four-Month High Give Boost at Quarter-End

July 19, 2017
Michelle Jamrisko - Bloomberg

Residential construction ended the second quarter on a stronger note as groundbreaking on new homes rebounded in June to the fastest annualized pace in four months, Commerce Department data showed Wednesday.

    Highlights from Housing Starts (June)
  • Residential starts increased 8.3 percent to a 1.22 million annualized rate (est. 1.16 million)
  • Starts for May were revised to 1.12 million from 1.09 million
  • Permits, a proxy for future construction, climbed 7.4 percent to a 1.25 million annualized rate

Why Can’t They Build More Homes Where the Jobs Are?

July 13, 2017
Patrick Clark - Bloomberg

In a logical world, builders would rush to put up homes in the U.S. regions adding jobs at the fastest pace. In reality, it's not so simple.

San Francisco's metropolitan area added 373,000 net new jobs in the last five years—but issued permits for only 58,000 units of new housing. The lack of new construction has exacerbated housing costs in the Bay Area, making the San Francisco metro among the cruelest markets in the U.S. Over the same period, Houston added 346,000 jobs and permitted 260,000 new dwellings, five times as many units per new job as San Francisco.


Swinerton Tops-Out $120-million Shift Project in San Diego

June 29, 2017
Greg Aragon - Engineering News-Record

Swinerton has topped-out construction on the new $120-million Shift community in San Diego's East Village neighborhood. The project, which broke ground in March 2016, is set to open its first phase in December 2017, with completion in spring 2018.

ENR may be contacted at ENR.com@bnpmedia.com


Raintree Partners Announces Over $500 Million in California Mixed-Use Projects

June 21, 2017
Greg Aragon - Engineering News-Record

Orange County, CA-based Raintree Partners is investing big time in California. The real estate investment company announced last week that it currently under construction on three mixed-use projects in California totaling more than $500 million in value.

ENR may be contacted at ENR.com@bnpmedia.com


Arbitration Provision in Homebuilder’s Warranty Agreement with Homeowners is Unenforceable

June 15, 2017
David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates

Buying a new home from a homebuilder is an exciting time. How could you not be excited about buying and moving into a new home? It is a big milestone. When buying a new home from a homebuilder, it is common that you are provided a limited warranty agreement to sign that outlines your rights if there is a “warranty” claim, the length of the warranty period, what constitutes a valid warranty claim, and includes an arbitration provision requiring you to arbitrate claims arising out of the agreement or home. It is also common that such limited warranty agreement contains important disclaiming language. Homeowners should always consider what they sign, but the reality is that most homeowners are going to absolutely sign what the homebuilder wants them to sign (and the homebuilder may even be unwilling to sell a home without certain signatures that offsets their risks).

Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at Dadelstein@gmail.com


Construction Begins on Four Seasons Residence in Los Angeles

June 5, 2017
Greg Aragon - Engineering News-Record

Genton Property Group (GPG) announced May 30 that construction on the Four Seasons Private Residences Los Angeles is underway this week after finalization and funding of a $239 million construction loan last week.

ENR may be contacted at ENR.com@bnpmedia.com


Five-Alarm Fire in College Park, Md. Renews Calls For New State Code Regulations

May 10, 2017
Justin Rice - Engineering News-Record

A five-alarm fire at a wood-framed apartment building under construction in College Park, Md., has renewed calls to regulate “light-framed, combustible, podium construction,” known as Type V construction, in low- to midrise buildings.

Mr. Rice may be contacted at ricej@enr.com



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Wood Construction Growing Despite Dangers

CBS Evening News reports on the growing use of compressed wood in Portland, Oregon.

Construction Worker Rescued From Trench

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Construction Worker Shortage in Houston

Houston Public Media discusses how the lack of construction workers could impact the rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Harvey.

Northern California Wildfires: Interview with Santa Rosa Fire Chief and Captains

ABC7 News interviews firefighters who responded in the first hours of the North Bay wildfires.

Appraisers Sent to Assess Sonoma County Fire Damage

CBS SF Bay Area news reports that appraisers will be assessing damage to property for tax bill purposes.

Chicago Homeowner Alleges Home Damaged by Nearby Construction

A Highland Park couple fights to return to their home after the city deemed it inhabitable.

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