Home Builder News

Home Prices Hit Records in Almost Two-Thirds of U.S. Cities

February 15, 2018
Prashant Gopal – Bloomberg

Home prices jumped to all-time highs in almost two-thirds of U.S. cities in the fourth quarter as buyers battled for a record-low supply of listings.

Prices for single-family homes, which climbed 5.3 percent from a year earlier nationally, reached a peak in 64 percent of metropolitan areas measured, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. Of the 177 regions in the group’s survey, 15 percent had double-digit price growth, up from 11 percent in the third quarter.


Toronto Home Sales Plunge Under New Lending Rules

February 7, 2018
Natalie Wong and Erik Hertzberg – Bloomberg

Toronto home sales tumbled in the first month of 2018, as tougher mortgage qualification rules came into play and borrowing costs rose.

Sales in Canada’s biggest city fell 22 percent to 4,019 units from a year earlier, according to data released Tuesday by the Toronto Real Estate Board. It was the weakest month of sales for January since 2009. The average price of a home sold in Toronto was C$736,783 ($587,968), down 4.1 percent from January 2017, though little changed from December.

Reprinted courtesy of Natalie Wong, Bloomberg and Erik Hertzberg, Bloomberg


This Rare Bear Who Called the Crash Warns Housing Is Too Hot Again

January 31, 2018
Prashant Gopal – Bloomberg

When real estate investors get this confident, money manager James Stack gets nervous.

U.S. home prices are surging to new records. Homebuilder stocks last year outperformed all other groups. And bears? They’re now an endangered species.

Stack, 66, who manages $1.3 billion for people with a high net worth, predicted the housing crash in 2005, just before prices reached their peak. Now, from his perch in Whitefish, Montana, he says his “Housing Bubble Bellwether Barometer” of homebuilder and mortgage company stocks, which jumped 80 percent in the past year, once again is flashing red.


Rival Company Says Puerto Rico Deal to Rebuild Homes Was Unfairly Awarded

January 24, 2018
Johnathan Levin, Daniel Flately and Yalixa Rivera - Bloomberg

Two disaster recovery companies are battling over a $133 million contract to repair hurricane-battered homes in Puerto Rico, with the losing bidder formally challenging the result and suggesting the winner should have been disqualified. The commonwealth’s Housing Department on Dec. 15 gave the deal to oversee 75,000 potential home rehabs to Utica, New York-based Adjusters International Inc., which employs as an executive a former Trump administration nominee to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. AECOM, the world’s biggest engineering firm, said Adjusters failed to show adequate financial resources and good standing to do business in Puerto Rico, according to a copy of AECOM’s motion for reconsideration provided to Bloomberg. Mr. Levin may be followed @JonathanJLevin Mr. Flatley may be followed @daniel_flatley


Las Vegas's Economy Is on the Brink of a Boom

January 10, 2018
Conor Sen - Bloomberg

What U.S. city will boom in 2018? If you're placing bets, you'd look for a place still suffering a hangover from the housing bust, with subdued economic activity and a lack of excess for a decade. You'd want to find an economy where demand is starting to exceed supply in a significant way, with price signals and economic activity responding. And with the U.S. economy as a whole starting to feel a bit frothy, you'd try to identify a place that benefits from American exuberance. In other words, you'd look for Las Vegas.

You can contact Mr. Sen on twitter @Conorsen


London Luxury Home at ‘Unbelievable’ Discount Shows Price Falls

January 5, 2018
Sharon R. Smyth and Nishant Kumar - Bloomberg

Unbelievable reduction,” says the broker’s email.

An investor who agreed to purchase an apartment at the ritzy One Blackfriars project on the banks of the River Thames is offering the two-bedroom home on the 20th floor for 1.8 million pounds ($2.44 million), more than 22 percent less than they agreed to pay for it in 2013.

The seller, who’s from Asia, wants to offload the property before it’s completed, according to Christian Barr, new homes manager at MyLondonHome, who’s brokering the sale. Stamp duty is payable after a property’s construction is finished.


U.S. Sales of Existing Homes Climb to an Almost 11-Year High

December 20, 2017
Sho Chandra - Bloomberg

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose in November to an almost 11-year high, indicating demand picked up momentum heading into the end of the year, according to a National Association of Realtors report released Wednesday.


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.



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Post Harvey, How Can Texas Ensure History Doesn’t Repeat Itself?

PBS NewsHour reports on measures being taken to prevent the damage Hurricane Harvey caused.

One Woman’s story of Career Success in a Male-Dominated Industry.

LinkedIn presents the backstory of a woman working in the Highway Construction Industry as an Ironworker.

San Jose, CA Ramping up to be the Nation’s Top Housing Market of 2018

CBS reports the housing market in San Jose, California is at an all-time high with average home prices reaching $1 million while the amount of homes for sale are at an all-time low.

AGC of America Study Findings of Construction Workforce Shortage

The Associated General Contractors of America shares the results of a study regarding why construction firms are struggling to craft professionals to hire, how firms are trying to address the workforce shortages and proposed solutions by calling congress to action.

Progress in Puerto Rico, but still more to do

Fox News reports on the progress of relief efforts taking place in Puerto Rico following brutal hurricanes last fall.

Politicians weigh in on Flood Prevention in Houston

KHOU 11 reports on the idea to build homes higher in Houston Texas to help prevent flood damage such as Hurricane Harvey caused last fall.

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