Apologies to Paul Simon, but when I looked at the long list of design ideas I compiled while at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, I thought I’d try to mention 50 of them—a nice round num
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.” And while this is an accurate expression of what happens to weak businesses when there is a downturn in the business cycle, it seems particularly apt as a description of the builder market before and after the housing market bubble burst.
Successful builders obsess on sales conversion ratios, tracking key metrics, hiring the right people, and knowing where they stand in the marketplace, writes Bob Schultz in his latest column. Schultz offers 14 ways builders can win in the sluggish economy.
The U.S. housing industry is likely to see increased demand for rental properties, according to the latest Fannie Mae National Housing Survey, which collected data from 3,417 households. For the first time in the survey’s history, delinquent borrowers are more likely to say that they would rent their next home instead of buying.
Housing starts plunged to 519,000 in October, down from a revised 588,000 in September and well below the 600,000 that economists were expecting, according to the Commerce Dept. The rate is the lowest since April 2009, when it fell to 477,000 starts. It’s also the third lowest rate in more than 50 years.
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes improved slightly in November, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released last week. The HMI rose one notch to 16 from a downwardly revised level of 15 in the previous month.
Residential construction spending rose 1.8% in September, according a report from Reed Construction.
After gaining ground for two straight months, pending home sales dipped slightly in September, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Nearly a quarter of U.S. mortgage holders owe more money than their house is worth, according to a report by Zillow. In the third quarter of 2010, the percentage of those underwater rose to 23.2 percent, up from 21.7 percent a year ago.
Realtors at the annual conference in New Orleans got a sobering reminder that the housing boom is gone for good, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Though counterintuitive in today’s market, a new pricing study from McKinsey & Co. suggests that a modest price increase on a cost-per-square foot basis might be worth considering.