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One of the big barriers to a housing industry recovery is the perception that there are a large number of vacant homes out there that are going to flood the market any day now.

A preview of our February issue:

1. Forget about it.

(For those in the Northeast, fuggedaboudit.)

While conducting research for this month’s report on “16 Tips For Driving Consumer Traffic,” I came across an interesting fact about technology and consumer behavior.

This past September, we wrote extensively about the state of builder and buyer financing, which no doubt is one of the most-difficult challenges home builders face today.

Our cover story this month focuses on the opportunities being afforded by social media and the Web in general.

This past September, we wrote extensively about the state of builder and buyer financing, which no doubt is one of the most-difficult challenges home builders face today.

When this magazine was launched as Practical Builder in the spring of 1936, the outlook for Americans and the rest of the world was far bleaker than what we face today.

It's not getting a lot of attention in the partisan bickering over the tax compromise in Washington last week, but remodelers hoping for an extension of the energy efficiency tax credits look to be the big losers.

Another survey, another sign that consumers still are not sold on a housing recovery.

Two years ago, at the height of the global financial crisis, investor Warren Buffett pulled out this gem of a quote to describe the situation. “It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked.”

Remodelers are more optimistic than they've been about the remodeling market since 2005 according to our latest survey.

While conducting research on a builder for a recent issue of Professional Builder, I did what most people do first when they want to learn more about a company, or any subject for that matter. I went to Google.

It’s hard to say who has taken the “a la carte” mentality to the most absurd level, the airlines or the rental car companies. Pay for food, pay for sodas, pay for bags, and one of the discount airlines is now charging for both checked bags and overhead storage.  This is beyond the pale.

I had the chance today to spend some time talking with Manfred Seitz, chairman, president and CEO of Bosch Power Tools, during a visit to the company's U.S. headquarters.

The residential market's "shadow inventory" is up more than 10 percent from a year ago, according to real-estate research firm CoreLogic.

Standard & Poor is predicting more home price pain for 2011.

Analysts from the financial market intelligence firm are calling for a drop of between 7 and 10 percent through the end of next year.

I know from personal experience buying a home a few years ago, it was nearly impossible in 2006 to find a builder that would build something less than 3,000 sq. ft. with any sort of quality.

Marketing and generating leads continues to be challenge No. 1 for many remodelers. If you're in that group, here's a chance to polish your skills.

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