Perfect Economic Mix Set To Boost Housing In 2015

John Melloy

Perfect Economic Mix Set To Boost Housing In 2015After a few so-so years, the housing market and related stocks could be primed for a big 2015.

Next year is shaping up to be one of those rare times when strong economic growth is accompanied by low interest rates, the perfect mix for these names, according to a historical study of stock prices using Kensho, a quantitative tool used by hedge funds.

CNBC looked at the periods since 1980 when GDP was above 2 percent, yet the 10-year Treasury yield remained under 2.5 percent. In total, there has been about one year or four quarters of time when both these conditions were met and homebuilder stocks were far and away the standouts among stocks in the S&P 500.

 

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Why Title Insurance Shouldn’t Be Boring For Home Buyers

by Michele Lerner

Title Insurance Shouldn’t Be Boring For Home BuyersYou’re forgiven for thinking that insurance is the least exciting topic related to buying a home.

Of course, all home buyers are interested inexploring new neighborhoods and deciding how to decorate new digs. Insurance takes a back seat to the “fun” stuff associated with buying a home.

However, title insurance is critical to establishing peace of mind as a homeowner.

When you buy a home, you “take title” to the property and establish legal ownership confirmed by local public land records. As part of the closing process, your lender will require a title search, and you’ll need to purchase title insurance that covers your property.

 

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Developers’ Sentiment About Multifamily Market Off Recent Peak, But Remains Positive

Developers' Sentiment About Multifamily Market Off Recent Peak, But Remains PositiveThe Multifamily Production Index (MPI), released today by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), reached 54 in the third quarter, four points below the previous quarter’s reading. This is the 11th consecutive quarter with a reading of 50 or above.

The MPI measures builder and developer sentiment about current conditions in the apartment and condominium market on a scale of 0 to 100. The index and all of its components are scaled so that any number over 50 indicates that more respondents report conditions are improving than report conditions are getting worse.

The MPI provides a composite measure of three key elements of the multifamily housing market: construction of low-rent units, market-rate rental units and “for-sale” units, or condominiums. Although all three components fell from 2014 peaks in the second quarter, all remain at 50 or above. The MPI component tracking low-rent units dipped one point to 51, market-rate rental units fell four points to 64 and for-sale units dropped six points to 50.

 

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Homes For The Homeless…Inside Billboards

by Sara Ashley O’Brien

Homes For The Homeless...Inside BillboardsBillboard ads are expensive to construct, maintain and rent, but they don’t serve any functional purposes — so Michal Polacek redesigned them to house the homeless.

His concept, called “Project Gregory,” would create wooden billboard structures fitted with noise and thermal insulation. They’d have two rooms: One with a table, two chairs and bed, the other with a toilet, sink and shower — all in less than 200 square feet.

Polacek, 26, came up with the concept as part of his master’s dissertation at the Academy of Art in Banksa Bystrica, Slovakia, about three years ago. He brought on Matej Nedorolík to help with communications (Polacek doesn’t speak English). The two also head up an architecture and design firm.

 

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Home Sales Hold Steady

by David Crowe

Home Sales Hold SteadySeptember new home sales were virtually unchanged from a revised August report. At an annual rate of 467,000, new home sales were the highest since July 2008. The August number was revised downward after an unusually large and unsustainable spike. Given the month-to-month variation in the series, a quarterly average may be clearer. The third quarter finished at 446,000 up 4.4% from the second quarter at 427,000 and the second quarter was within 1 percent of the first quarter.

Inventories continue to rise as builders prepare for continued demand improvements. Total inventory rests at 207,000, up 13% from the same time last year. Of that inventory, only 50,000 are completed homes ready to move in. Builders continue to keep options for finishes and final touches open for the buyer. Most of the new homes for sale are still under construction awaiting the final choices of the ultimate buyer.

Median sales price fell $10,000 or 4% to $259,000 but the decline was not due to a fall in individual home prices. Rather, the composition of the homes sold changed. In September 2013, 28% of the homes sold were priced under $200,000 but that share rose to 31% in September 2014. The share above $400,000 also dropped slightly across the year. This is also an encouraging sign as some first time home buyers begin to creep back into the market.

 

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Why More Renters Aren’t Buying

By Nick Timiraos

A new survey says that younger workers and other renters aren’t turning away from homeownership because they lack the desire to own homes. Instead, they’re staying on the sidelines because they lack the capacity to purchase.

The analysis from the New York Federal Reserve Bank comes via their survey of consumer expectations in February. It polled 867 homeowners and 344 renters on their attitudes toward homeownership and their plans to move.

Why More Raren't Buying
Why More Raren’t Buying

One popular trend cited frequently in the press is that millennials and other renters have permanently turned away from owning homes after watching their parents’ generation take it on the chin during the housing bust. How else to explain the fact that homebuying has remained soft despite the fact that homeownership has rarely been more affordable, given low interest rates and the recent home-price crash.

 

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New Trend In Transitional Styles: Freestanding Bathtubs See Big Increase In Sales

Americans with elaborate country-house fantasies have stopped merely thinking about freestanding bathtubs—and started buying them, in growing numbers. Here’s how to take the plunge

By David A. Keeps

New Trend In Transitional Styles: Freestanding Bathtubs See Big Increase In Sales
New Trend In Transitional Styles: Freestanding Bathtubs See Big Increase In Sales

FIVE YEARS AGO, Tamara Kaye-Honey had a $4,000 freestanding tub delivered to the un-renovated attic of her 1920s gabled Los Angeles Tudor. “I’d brave the rickety old plank stairs, perch in the empty tub and sketch floor plans,” recalled the interior designer and mother of two. Now her newly finished master bath, with mountain views from the tub and furnishings befitting a soignée dressing room is her guilty-pleasure sanctuary. “I spend lots of time just sitting in a chair with a glass of wine reading, listening to music and maybe hiding out from my kids,” Ms. Kaye-Honey confessed.

“The freestanding tub is my muse,” she said of her modern Victoria + Albert soaker made of volcanic limestone and resin. “It gives the bathroom a sense of sophistication.”

Whether it’s a traditional design steeped in British country-house charm that recalls the less debauched parts of “Brideshead Revisited,” or a contemporary model that conjures minimalist spas, the freestanding tub has a newfound stature as the focal point in today’s more ambitious bathrooms. Sales are approaching a high-water mark: Of designers who belong to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, more than 60% polled in a 2013 report said they ordered freestanding tubs for bathroom projects, up 7% over 2012, with their choices “trending toward contemporary and transitional styles,” rather than antique looks, said NKBA president John Petrie.

 

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Standard Pacific’s CEO on Q2 2014 Results

Standard Pacific’s CEO on Q2 2014 Results
Standard Pacific’s CEO on Q2 2014 Results

Operator

Good morning. And welcome to the Standard Pacific Homes 2014 Second Quarter Results Conference Call. Today’s conference is being recorded.

Before we begin, I would like to direct your attention to the company’s Safe Harbor Statements and remind you that this conference call contains forward-looking statements, including statements concerning future financial and operational performance.

Actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. For additional information regarding factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements, please see the company’s SEC filings, including reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q under the heading Risk Factors.

 

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Builders Add Perks For Dogs To New Homes

By Sue Manning

Builders Add Perks For Dogs To new homes
Builders Add Perks For Dogs To new homes

These homes are set apart by their amenities – for dogs.

Standard Pacific Homes is building and selling homes in 27 developments from Florida to California and is believed to be the first to offer a pet suite as an option in every one.

The most lavish suite is a 170-square-foot pet paradise with a step-in wash station, handheld sprayer and leash lead; tile walls and floors; a designated drying area with a commercial-size pet dryer; a water station; automated feeders; a large bunk-style bed; cabinets for toys, treats and food; a stackable washer and dryer; a French door that opens to a puppy run; and a flat-screen television set.

Standard Pacific, based in Irvine, Calif., decided to offer pet suites after conducting livability studies with homeowners. Pets were a constant theme, said Jeffrey Lake, vice president and national director of architecture for Standard Pacific.

“Devotion to pets is second-to-none,” he added. “They are family.”

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Top 10 Markets For Foreclosure Flipping

By Scot Meyer

Top 10 Markets For Foreclosure Flipping
Top 10 Markets For Foreclosure Flipping

Before the housing market crashed, house-flipping was a sport that even amateurs could play. Investors would swoop in, buy a property or two, and watch as the buoyant forces of the market brought the price higher and higher.

These days, as real-estate prices fall and fall, and more homeowners face foreclosure, those fire-sale-priced foreclosure properties have created new, lucrative opportunities for flippers.

RealtyTrac, which tracks foreclosures, says 831,574 foreclosures or bank-owned properties sold in 2010. They sold at an average discount of more than 28% compared with properties not in foreclosure.

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