Thursday, January 27, 2011

Home Remodeling Expected to Increase in 2011

"Remodelers are starting to see an uptick in interest from consumers who are considering future remodeling projects," said NAHB Remodelers Chairman Bob Peterson.. "Home owners are also showing more willingness to undertake larger remodeling projects."

"Remodeling activity has been rising slowly since the first quarter of 2010. Expected improvements in the job market and the overall economy are beginning to increase homeowners' confidence and remodelers are seeing indications that business will pick up," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "More remodeling jobs will unfold as consumers in more secure financial positions enter the remodeling market. A more robust recovery in residential remodeling will depend upon future improvements in labor and credit markets."

Current conditions indices for remodeling improved in two regions, the Midwest and South.  Future market indicators grew significantly in nearly all regions.

To find a builder who can help you with remodeling projects, call or email me.  I work with all the builders in our central New Jersey area, and can give you recommendations for just about any project you want to do.

Joe Giancarli, SA
Real Estate Advisor

New Resource for the 55+ Housing Market Released

The MetLife Mature Market Institute (MMI), in partnership with NAHB (National Association of Home Builders), has produced the Builder Survey Chart Book, dated Sept, 2009:  55+ Housing-Builders, Buyers, and Beyond

Established in 1997, the Mature Market Institute (MMI) is MetLife’s research organization and a recognized thought leader on the multi-dimensional and multi-generational issues of aging and longevity. MMI’s groundbreaking research, gerontology expertise, national partnerships, and educational materials work to expand the knowledge and choices for those in, approaching, or caring for those in the mature market.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing more than 200,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multi-family construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing, and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction. Known as "the voice of the housing industry," NAHB is affiliated with more than 800 state and local home builders associations around the country. NAHB’s builder members will construct about 80% of the new housing units projected for 2009.

Here are some highlights from the report.  Topics covered are:
     Location of 55+ Communities
     55+ Customer Relocating from
     Motivation in Relocation
*Features, Amenities, Services
     Includes these topics for 2008 and plans for 2009
     Studied are both 55+ Communities and Single-family homes
*Mortgage Financing Options
*Technology in Homes
*Green Amenities

While the timespan seems outdated, there are more Baby Boomers than ever and these trends will certainly be a factor for builders in 2011.

If you are interested in the 55+ housing options in Mercer County and surrounding areas, call or contact me to discuss your options.

Joe Giancarli, SA
Real Estate Advisor

New Home Sales up in December

As reported by, "According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), sales of new single-family houses in December 2010 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 329,000.

"This is 17.5% (±17.7%) above the revised November rate of 280,000, but is 7.6% (±17.0%) below the December 2009 estimate of 356,000.

"The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2010 was $241,500; the average sales price was $291,400. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was 190,000. This represents a supply of 6.9 months at the current sales rate.

"An estimated 321,000 new homes were sold in 2010. This is 14.2 percent (±4.2%) below the 2009 figure of 375,000."

Call or email me to find the new home developments in Mercer County, NJ and surrounding townships and counties.

Joe Giancarli, SA

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Builders See Rising Demand in Apartments

One of the findings to emerge from the National Assn. of Home Builder's (NAHB) convention held recently in Florida was the increased demand for rentals, because of the new job creation in a slowly-recovering economy.  However, the lack of credit needed to finance the development of apartments is already causing rents to increase and is likely to lead to a shortage of available apartments in the next few years.

"Although we are forecasting construction of 133,000 new multifamily residences in 2011," said the NAHB chief economist, David Crowe, "that is far short of the 250,000 to 300,000 units that would be required to keep supply and demand in balance. In addition, we have yet to make up for the insufficient number of new apartments that should have been built over the last two years. The capital needed to finance that construction is just not available to apartment developers."

Multifamily developer Bill McLaughlin, of Washington, DC, said he sees demand for apartments increasing, but noted that the cutback in multifamily development in 2009 and 2010 has resulted in a "woefully inadequate supply" of new multifamily rentals to meet the rising demand.

Joe Giancarli, SA
Real Estate Advisor

2010 2nd Worst Year in 50 for Builders reported today that "Builders began work last year on the second fewest number of homes in more than half a century, as the weak economy kept people from buying houses.  Builders broke ground on a total of 587,600 homes in 2010, just barely better than the 554,000 started in 2009. Those are the two worst years on records dating back to 1959.

"In a healthy economy, builders start about one million units a year. They built twice as many in 2005, at the height of the housing boom. Since then the market has been in decline.  One positive sign is that builders appear to be planning more projects in 2011. Building permits, considered a good barometer for future activity, rose 16.7% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 635,000, the best pace since March.

"Housing construction fell in all parts of the country in December except the West, where activity surged 45.8%. Construction dropped 38.4% in the Midwest and was down 24.7% in the Northeast and 2.2% in the South. Severe winter weather likely affected activity in the Northeast and Midwest.

"The stagnation in housing is weighing on the overall economic recovery. Each new home built creates, on average, the equivalent of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in taxes, according to the National Association of Home Builders."

Call or email me to talk about options so you can buy a new home in 2011 in Hamilton or Mercer County and surrounding counties.

Joe Giancarli, SA
Real Estate Advisor

December a Slow Month for New Home Construction

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have announced residential construction statistics for December 2010.

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 635,000. This is 16.7% (±2.1%) above the revised November rate of 544,000, but is 6.8%(±2.8%) below the December 2009 estimate of 681,000.

Privately-owned housing starts in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 529,000. This is 4.3% (±14.1%) below the revised November estimate of 553,000 and is 8.2% (±14.4%) below the December 2009 rate of 576,000.

Privately-owned housing completions in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 585,000. This is 4.1% (±17.7%) above the revised November estimate of 562,000, but is 22.2% (±11.3%) below the December 2009 rate of 752,000.

For information on single-family and multi-family numbers, read the article.

Call or email me to talk about new homes in Mercer County and our surrounding areas.

Joe Giancarli, SA
Real Estate Advisor

New Jersey Builders Plan for Trend to Smaller Houses

Buyers want smaller houses, and builders nationwide are listening.  “Most builders will build smaller and lower-priced homes in 2011,” said Rose Quint, a researcher with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). “Our experts expect the average home size in 2015 to be around 2,150 sq ft.”  That’s down from the 2,377 SF average size of single-family homes in the US in 2010, and significantly below the 2,500+ SF average size at the top of the market in 2007.  Home sizes are, on average, almost 50% above what builders offered in the 1970s.

NAHB surveyed builders across the country, and 60% said they are planning to cut the sizes of the houses they will build in the next few years.  This only makes sense if that is what buyers want, and it is a combination of the economy and changing lifestyles.  To accommodate the smaller footprint, builders are replacing formal living and dining rooms with multipurpose areas, or "great rooms."  More than 80% of the builders responded that they expect the formal living room to vanish, as will houses with 3+ baths and 4+ bedrooms.

"There are factors behind the decline that are longer-term and will stay with us,” Quint said. "Costs savings and demographics are also shrinking houses.  There is an overwhelming desire in the population to keep energy costs down.  20% of our population will be over 65 in a few decades. They don’t want a big home,” added Quint.

Green features are growing strongly in popularity, with both builders and buyers.  More than 80% of buyers list energy-efficient heating, air-conditioning and appliances as “must-haves” in their new homes.

The recession and drop in home values have also tempered home buyers’ desires. “People don’t have a lot of equity in their homes to roll into a bigger home. Those times are over,” Quint said. “People have come to realize, ‘Let’s buy what we need, not what we don’t need.’”

To find New Jersey builders who are offering products you want and that fit your lifestyle, call or email me.  Not all new home developments in Mercer County and surrounding areas are the same, and not all builders are as "green" as others.  Let me know what you're looking for.

Joe Giancarli, SA
Real Estate Advisor

Report on International Builders Show in Orlando

At the recent Builders Show in Orlando, there was plenty of pessimism, but glimmers of hope.
Two housing economists, Frank Nothaft, chief economist for Freddie Mac and David Crowe, chief economist of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) were optimistic. Nothaf predicted a 20% rise in home building for 2011. Both economists acknowledged that any increase would be starting "off a really low base."  Crowe forecasted slow but steady growth going forward that will build momentum.
Both agreed that the housing economy has bottomed out.  They named several key indicators, including low mortgage rates, lower asking prices for new and existing houses, and marginally better numbers in the economy as a whole.  They agreed that it would take "at least" two more years before there is a balance between buyers and sellers.

Other positive factors mentioned are:
  • Homes are affordable and mortgage rates are the lowest "since the 50's".
  • There is pent up demand for new rental units and rents are stable or rising especially "for professionally managed large properties" according to Nothaft.
  • There is pent up demand of 2,000,000 household that were not formed because of the economy.
  • Younger people are staying longer with their parents who would have normally have formed households.
If you would like to purchase a new home this year in New Jersey, call or email me and let's discuss your options.

Joe Giancarli, SA
Real Estate Advisor

US Home Builders' Confidence Stagnates

According to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes held unchanged at a relatively low level of 16 for a third consecutive month in January 2011.

"As we emerge from the traditionally slow holiday season, builders continue to look for signs of improvement in the economy, home buyer demand and builder and consumer credit conditions," said 2011 NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen. "Unfortunately, a severe lack of construction financing, and widespread difficulties in obtaining accurate appraisal values, continue to limit builders' ability to prepare for anticipated improvements in buyer demand in 2011."

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said, "At this point, housing remains on the sidelines of a weak economic recovery as consumers and builders wait for clear and consistent indications that jobs and economic output are reviving. Meanwhile, the problems that builders continue to confront in obtaining production financing, and in maintaining performing lines of credit, threaten to significantly slow the onset of a housing recovery."

I know the builders in central New Jersey, Mercer County and surrounding counties.  Call or email me to talk about buying a new home in 2011.

Joe Giancarli, SA
Real Estate Advisor

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Build a Dude Den into your New New Jersey Home

We've all read about personalizing the kitchen of your new home for the "little woman" of the house.  How about a Dude Den for the man/men?  Builders in Mercer County and surrounding areas want buyers, so you might take a few ideas from this post and incorporate into a new home this year.

More and more homeowners are converting their finished basements, attic spaces, or spare rooms into masculine refuges.  While "man caves" often revolve around the time-honored rite of male bonding that is spectator sports, there is no single blueprint to a comfortable male refuge. Some guys turn their basements into full-scale game rooms where pool, air hockey, and arcade games rule the space. Movie buffs turn spare rooms into home theaters complete with surround sound and recliners on stadium risers. And many men create their very own pub.

Where to start?  The last thing you want is a room crammed full of everything you can jam into it. Before you begin, start thinking about what kind of activities you want to enjoy there. Is your main goal to have a perfect place to watch the big game? Looking for a permanent home for poker night? A place to work out in comfort, or a workshop?   Decide on a focus, then tailor furniture, d├ęcor and space to match.

It may help to pick one element (home theater system, a pool table, jukebox, etc.) as both the centerpiece and inspiration of the room.   Measure all dimensions of the space you have available, and do the same when considering the purchase of any furniture, hardware or stand-alone game systems. Maintain open walking paths throughout the room. If you're centering the room around a home theater system, keep in mind that you'll want to keep clear sightlines for the main seating areas in the room.

Choose granite, laminate, or durable wood surfaces for bar countertops, end and coffee tables. Pick thicker commercial-grade carpet, and stick with darker colors. Thicker carpeting helps with soundproofing, which will help keep the rest of the household happy.

The 3 key elements will be seating, entertainment center, and refreshments.  Wrap-around couches are better space savers than individual recliner chairs, but you may want both.  Large flat screen TVs are commonplace and affordable, and you can incorporate more technology into that wall as your interests change.  You may want a wet bar, and probably at least a dry bar with counter space and mini-refrigerator for snacks and drinks.

Finishing touches could include pool or poker table, game tables, elevated seating, and custom lighting.  Within square foot limits, you can have your Dude Den plus a great kitchen in a new home in Mercer County.

Call or email me for the names of builders and developments here in Central New Jersey and let's look at some homes under construction you can personalize to your tastes.

Joe Giancarli, SA
Real Estate Advisor

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