Friday Round Up 9/25/15

In a segment we’re calling Friday Round Up we gather the most important and interesting stories from around the web as it pertains to home building.

Where is Construction Employment Growing Fastest?

Source: Eye on Housing

Regional employment data for August from the BLS and NAHB analysis indicates that the states with the largest gains in year-over-year construction employment, in percentage terms, were Arkansas (13.6%), Idaho (10%), South Carolina (9.1%), Iowa (8.9%), Kansas (8.1%) and Washington (8%).  Thirty-six states plus the District of Columbia experienced year-over-year gains in construction employment as of August.

Year-over-year change in construction state-level employment

Americans NOT Too Worried About Rising Mortgage Rates

Source: Trulia

The Fed will obviously move with deliberation and caution, and when it does decide to raise rates, it would be nominal, probably about 25 basis points. While this increase wouldn’t stop people from buying a home, it would affect the type of home they could buy.

While most experts do not anticipate mortgage rates to move much beyond 4.5% over the next year, 46% of Americans who would ever buy a home say that rates beyond 5% would discourage them from buying their first or next home.

If they were to buy a home this year, what consumers worry about:
% of Americans % of American Millennials (age 18-34)
I could not find a home for sale that I like 26% 30%
I could not get a mortgage 26% 36%
Mortgage rates would rise before I buy 24% 26%
Home prices would rise before I buy 23% 28%
I would have to compete with many other buyers 14% 19%
Home prices would fall after I buy 13% 15%
I would have to decide on a house very quickly 10% 15%

What Buyers Want: Go Big To Go Home

Source: Builder Online

The Puget Sound Business Journal’s Stephanie Forshee looks at a new survey of area builders which asks what buyers are asking for the most. And one common theme emerged: go big to go home.

Large windows, gourmet kitchens, abundant kitchen cabinets, large master baths, outdoor covered patios were all named among the most popular features of homes built in 2014–Puget Sound buyers want to live as large as the Pacific Northwest landscape.

Those could be reasons why 36 percent of our home builders said that the homes they build today are larger than what they were pre-recession

New Home Sales Continue Rise

Source: Eye on Housing

Builders continue the modest rise in new home sales as reported by HUD and the Census Bureau. August new home sales, annualized and adjusted for seasonality, increased to 552,000. The August level was up 5.7% from an upwardly revised July and represents the highest level since February 2008. Regionally, sales increased 24.1% in the Northeast, 7.4% in the South and 5.4% in the West from July. Sales declined 9.1% in the Midwest. Annual increases were all double-digit, ranging from 21.6% for the US to 11.4% in the West.


New Home Sales and Inventory

Buyer Desires

Source: Builder Online, September Issue, Page 99

If you’ve ever wondered what drives a home buyer to select a particular home, look no further. The American Housing Survey provides insight into the home buying process. The top two reasons for choosing a home were its size (cited by 76 percent of buyers) and room layout/design (74 percent). The house’s price and the neighborhood were each cited by 72 percent of home buyers. For buyers of new homes, room layout/design, neighborhood, exterior appearance and construction quality tended to be even more important than for other types of buyers.

NAHB Study Reveals What “Green” Means to Home Buyers

Source: NAHB

NAHB’s publishing arm, BuilderBooks, recently released What Green Means to Home Buyers: Perceptions and Preferences, a study of consumer preferences focusing exclusively on green/high-performance features in the home and the community. The study examines consumers’ attitudes of various green features, concepts or terminologies, the resonance of those terms as potential marketing tools, and the likelihood that the home purchase decision may be influenced by any of these features or terms.

Among the key findings, include:

Top Influencers in a Home Purchase Decision:

  • 90% Safe community
  • 88% Energy efficient
  • 85% Low maintenance
  • 85% Lower operating costs
  • 84% Durable/Resilient

Common Words Home Buyers Use to Describe Green Homes:

  • 32%: Efficient, Energy Efficient, Water Efficient, High Efficiency
  • 15%: Eco-friendly, Environmentally-friendly, Environmentally-responsible, Environmentally-safe, Environmentally-conscious
  • 8%: Solar, Solar Power, Solar Energy, Solar Panels
  • 4%: Lower Costs, Lower Utility Bills, Saves Money