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Industry News and Updates

NAHB Supports Trumps Supreme Court Nomination

by HBA of North Georgia on 03/25/17

Judge Gorsuch has an excellent record as a judge and would make a fabulous addition to the Supreme Court.
NAHB senior leadership has long viewed Gorsuch, a respected jurist, as an excellent Supreme Court candidate, and with a number of important land use decisions facing the court, want to see the vacant position filled quickly.
Luckily for us, Georgia has two senators that will stand behind the nomination and see that Judge Gorsuch is appointed to the Supreme Court. For those in other states, the NAHB is launching a grassroots, and social media effort to make sure that Gorsuch is seated in a timely manor.

Builder Confidense at Highest in 12 Years

by HBA of North Georgia on 03/23/17

Optimism among single-family builders this month is the strongest it has been since 2005. Much of this positive sentiment stems from the widely anticipated reductions of government regulations. A prime example was the recent executive order to roll back the Waters of the United States rule that affects builders' and developers' wetlands permits. However, we can expect some moderation in builder confidence in the months ahead, as interest rates rise and headwinds persist for access to lots and labor.
As expected, last week the Federal Reserve increased the short-term federal funds rate for just the third time in the post-recession era. Much of the Fed's stance is fueled by a strengthening labor market, which added 235,000 jobs last month. As the rate of inflation approaches the 2% target rate, NAHB forecasts two additional rate hikes this year.
Additional price pressures can be seen on the supply side of the industry. Gypsum prices have increased more than 6% in the first two months of 2017, and softwood lumber prices rose almost 5% due to the ongoing lumber trade dispute between the U.S. and Canada. As housing starts continue to rise in the months and years ahead, additional sources of lumber will be required.

President Trump Rolls Back the Waters of the US Rule

by HBA of North Georgia on 02/28/17

Another promise kept! President Trump kept a promise he made to home builders by signing an executive order to resend or revise the overreaching Water of the US rule. As, once again, the EPA had over stepped its authority by giving themselves the ability to regulate practically any standing or flowing water on private land.

Thoughtful Designs Can Differentiate Any Home

by HBA of North Georgia on 02/06/17

Attracting prospective home buyers involves more than touting quartz countertops and hardwood floors: Those types of features are expected. But homes that truly appeal to new-home buyers are those that infuse elements of the unexpected.

It’s no wonder that “60 Design Ideas in 60 Minutes” is consistently one of the most popular and well-attended sessions at the NAHB International Builders’ Show. Each year, several of the industry’s leading architects, designers and builders crank through more than 60 ideas that can differentiate a home—as well as its builder—from the competition.

“Today’s buyers are constantly receiving design inspiration from a variety of sources [online and on TV],” said the session’s moderator, Jamie Goldman of the Denver-based design firm Kephart.

“They’re looking for design that is well executed, adds convenience and gives them an experience, such as escaping to relax in a spa-like bath, or entertaining and connecting with friends. That requires thoughtful design, which is all about the details.”

Some key takeaways from the session:

  • Dining and entertaining — Bigger is better when it comes to doorways, especially those that open to outside dining and entertaining areas to blur the line between the indoors and outdoors. This form of “inside-out architecture” can create the illusion of space in smaller homes, and can be a wow factor in larger homes. For homes with no room for patios, creating a rooftop deck can be a huge selling point to maximize outdoor space.
  • Bathrooms — There’s no such thing as an over-the-top bathroom. That’s because everyone appreciates having a place of their own to escape and relax. Bathrooms most likely to get buyers ooo-ing and aww-ing should feature spa-like details such as a separate glass-enclosed shower alongside a soaking tub, automated and customizable lighting, and elements of nature like indoor plants and stone or pebble accents.
  • Bedrooms — Because this is where the most hours of the day are spent, look for ways to make the bedroom as functional and visually appealing as possible. Installing panels of wall art is one example of how to add elements of design, and many wall panels can double as a soundproofing materials.
  • Kitchens — Not all floorplans (and budgets) can accommodate an enormous kitchen. For tighter layouts, pull-out countertops stowed beneath the permanent kitchen countertops can significantly increase usable space. These can be ideal as an additional food-prep area, buffet space or eating location during large gatherings.
  • Materials — Characteristics of the modern-farmhouse design are among the most popular in today’s new homes. Going beyond the repurposed or unfinished wood features, “living wood” details on countertops, walls and sliding doorways can significantly augment a home’s rustic appearance.

Visit for a closer look at the latest design trends from some of this year’s BALA winners.

55+ Builder Confidence is Highest Yet

by HBA of North Georgia on 02/06/17

Builder confidence in the single-family 55+ housing market remained strong in the fourth quarter of 2016 with a reading of 67, up eight points from the previous quarter, according to the NAHB 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI), released today. This is the highest reading since the inception of the index in 2008.

“The significant increase is partly attributed to a post-election boost, as many builders and developers are encouraged by President Trump’s commitment to cut burdensome regulations that negatively impact small businesses,” said Dennis Cunningham, chairman of NAHB’s 55+ Housing Industry Council and president of ActiveWest Builders in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

“Builders and developers in this market segment are also encouraged by the fact that for the next 15 years, 10,000 baby boomers will be turning 65 every day,” Cunningham continued. “The consistent pressure of this age group wanting to downsize, shifting to other regions of the country or just simply looking for a newer home or community also plays a key role in the index movement.”

There are separate 55+ HMIs for single-family homes and multifamily condominiums. Each measures builder sentiment based on a survey that asks if current sales, prospective buyer traffic and anticipated six-month sales for that market are good, fair or poor (high, average or low for traffic). An index number above 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

All three index components of the 55+ single-family HMI posted increases from the previous quarter: Present sales and expected sales for the next six months posted index-highs, increasing 11 points to 74 and 10 points to 75, respectively, while traffic of prospective buyers rose two points to 49.

The 55+ multifamily condo HMI decreased two points to 46. The index component for present sales fell one point to 50, expected sales for the next six months increased one point to 52 and traffic of prospective buyers dropped three points to 35.

All the four indices tracking production and demand of 55+ multifamily rentals increased in the fourth quarter. Present production rose six points to 54, expected future production increased 11 points to 60, and current demand for existing units and future demand posted index-highs, jumping 12 points to 71 and 17 points to 76, respectively.

“The strong performance of the 55+ HMI at the end of 2016 is consistent with recent increases in broader measures of the housing market, including new home sales and the NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “We expect continued growth in the 55+ market in 2017, although builders in many places will still face challenges in finding adequate supplies of inputs like labor and lots.”

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