Friday Round Up 10/30/15

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.

Lowe’s Reveals 2015 Smart-home Survey Results

Source: Builder Online

Iris by Lowe’s, the home improvement store’s smart-home technology brand, has released its second annual Smart Home Survey, which gauges countrywide behaviors and preferences on smart-home products and systems. Conducted online this past August, the survey polled over 2,000 adults to determine the driving factors behind purchases.

The survey found that cost is becoming slightly less of a determinant. The cost of equipment and subscription fees have decreased in significance, from 56% citing it as the key factor last year, to just 43% saying the same this year.

The second greatest determiner is ease of use, which earned 19% of the votes, up from 13% last year. Energy efficiency features—such as home temperature control and automated lighting—are the next most commonly cited factors.

In all, 66% of Americans reported they plan to purchase smart home products someday, while 17% plan to do so within the next year. Consumers rated stores like Lowe’s and the Home Depot as the their top destination for purchasing smart-home products, citing reliability, knowledgeable staff, and an abundance of available products.

Smart Home Preferences


Home Production To Surpass 1 Million Next Year, 1.2 Million In 2017, Says Nahb

Source: Builder Online

Using data extrapolated from 1990, Robert Denk, a senior economist at NAHB, said the average number of single-family starts in a given year is 1.3 million, which was the mark in the early 2000’s. The amount of home starts jumped to 1.7 million in 2006 and then sank to about 350,000 in 2009 after the housing bubble burst. Since then, housing starts have risen, and currently, Denk said, the market is churning out around 740,000 of them–-53% of the long-term average.

Denk estimated that home starts would surpass one million in 2016 and 1.2 million, or 91% of the average, in 2017. “2016 has a lot of potential to accelerate the recovery,” he said, adding that the economy is no longer about the “carnage” that caused the collapse. “It’s about population and job growth,” he said. “We’re really in a very different place than we were in the early rounds of the recovery.”

Single Family Housing Starts


Eye on the Economy: Builder Confidence Up in October

Source: Eye on Housing

Contracts for new home sales disappointed in September, after a strong August and a run of weak job numbers. According to estimates from the Census Bureau, the monthly pace of new home sales declined 11.5% from August, falling from a 529,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate to 468,000.

Despite the stumble in September, builders remain confident about the market. In fact, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for October jumped three points from a one-point downwardly revised September. The October level of 64 conforms to levels last seen in late 2005. Any value higher than 50 means the majority of builders see the market getting better as opposed to worse. Even with headwinds in the supply chain, builders still report increasing consumer interest in buying a home.

Buyers Willing To Pay More For Green Homes
Source: Builder Online

A study, conducted by IMT and The District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), analyzed Washington, D.C., homes and found that high-performance homes marketed with green features sell for a mean premium of 3.46% compared to homes without green features.

“Home sellers, Realtors, and appraisers who are not factoring in energy efficiency when selling a home are leaving money on the table,” said IMT executive director Cliff Majersik in a news release.

The study paired eight high-performance homes with three non-high performance homes across seven ZIP codes in the District, and found that 19 of the 32 paired sales had green premiums of 2% to 5%. The mean green premium was 3.46%, while the median green premium was 2.91%.