News, Trends, Community - September

Census Bureau

Snapshot of Nation’s Housing
The median year housing units in the United States were built was 1974, and the median purchase prices of homes was $107,500. The median price for new homes was more than twice that at $240,000.

These figures come from the 2009 American Housing Survey, issued jointly every two years by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a source of information on the quality of housing in the United States.

Other highlights for the nearly 112 million occupied housing units:

  • Thirty-two percent of owner-occupied units were owned free and clear, 66 percent had a regular and/or home equity mortgage, and 2 percent had only a line-of-credit.
  • The most important consideration for recent movers in choosing their homes was financial (28 percent), followed by room layout/design (15 percent) and size of home (10 percent). Furthermore, the most common reasons recent movers had for choosing their neighborhoods were convenience to job (20 percent), convenience to friends or relatives (14 percent), look/design of neighborhood (10 percent) and the house itself (10 percent).
  • About half of homes (48 percent) had a separate dining room and three in 10 (30 percent) reported two or more living rooms or recreation rooms. About one-third (35 percent) had a usable fireplace.
  • Most homes had three or more bedrooms (64 percent), with the percentage even higher in new homes (80 percent). Additionally, about half of homes (51 percent) had two or more bathrooms, with the percentage even higher (89 percent) in new homes.

Environment

Roofing Plant Recycles Nearly 100 Percent
CertainTeed Corp.’s roofing plant in Shreveport, La., is teaming up with a Texas paving company to recycle nearly 100 percent of manufacturing waste. CertainTeed says it is helping to divert approximately 15,000 tons of material from landfills each year. The waste is used by RK Hall of Texarkana to produce asphalt pavement used for highways and bridges.

"In 2009, using WaterSense labeled products helped Americans save 36 billion gal. of water, 4.9 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, and $276 million on water and sewer bills."

Environmental Protection Agency

New Homes

Housing Starts Rise Slightly
Nationwide housing starts inched up 1.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000 units in July, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. The gain occurred entirely on the multifamily side, with single-family housing production falling 4.2 percent to 432,000 units. “Right now the housing market is essentially in a holding pattern,” said NAHB chief economist David Crowe.

Housing

Affordability Remains High
Bolstered by favorable interest rates and low house prices, housing affordability remained near its highest level nationwide for the second quarter, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI). The HOI indicated that 72.3 percent of all new and existing homes sold in the quarter were affordable to families earning the national median income of $64,400. The index for the second quarter was slightly more affordable than the previous quarter and almost equaled the record-high 72.5 percent set during the first quarter of 2009. Until 2009, the HOI rarely topped 67 percent and never reached 70 percent.

Real Estate

Existing-Home Sales Fall as Expected
xisting-home sales were sharply lower in July following expiration of the home buyer tax credit but home prices continued to gain, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Sales were at the lowest level since the total existing-home sales series launched in 1999, and single-family sales — accounting for the bulk of transactions — are at the lowest level since May of 1995.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said a soft sales pace likely will continue for a few additional months. “Consumers rationally jumped into the market before the deadline for the home buyer tax credit expired. Since May, after the deadline, contract signings have been notably lower and a pause period for home sales is likely to last through September,” he said. “However, given the rock-bottom mortgage interest rates and historically high housing affordability conditions, the pace of a sales recovery could pick up quickly, provided the economy consistently adds jobs.

“Even with sales pausing for a few months, annual sales are expected to reach 5 million in 2010 because of healthy activity in the first half of the year. To place in perspective, annual sales averaged 4.9 million in the past 20 years, and 4.4 million over the past 30 years,” Yun said.

59% of Americans considered green alternatives for their home improvement projects in the last quarter with window energy efficiency being the leading green home improvement project.

Source: ServiceMagic

Real Estate

Homeowners More Pessimistic
Homeowners are more pessimistic about the short-term future of home values in their local market than they have been in the past three quarters, according to the Zillow second-quarter Homeowner Confidence Survey. One-third believe home values in their local housing market have not yet reached a bottom, while 38 percent believe they have already reached a bottom. Despite the increasing pessimism, a large number of homeowners anxiously await the opportunity to sell. Five percent of U.S. homeowners say they are very likely to put their home on the market in the next six months if they see signs of a real estate market turnaround.

Trades

Web Site for Trade Contractors
Guildshare, LLC announced that its Web site, http://guildshare.com/, is now open for business. Guildshare.com enables independent trade contractors to share tradesmen in an online exchange format. After signing up, contractors can post the availability of their own tradesmen so that others can search for and book them online.

Kitchen & Bath

Cabinet Demand to Grow
U.S. demand for cabinets is forecast to expand 7.4 percent per year to $15.2 billion in 2014, according to The Freedonia Group, Inc. While the new housing market will experience solid growth, the improvement and repair segment will continue to account for the majority of residential demand.

NKBA

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