The beginning of spring is an ideal time to get a head start on your yardwork. A little work now will spruce up the outside of your home, start your “spring cleaning” routine and make your summer yard chores easier.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2% in February, and was unchanged over the past 12 months. According to the latest release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the seasonally adjusted increase in February was broad-based, including energy.
After 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.
The 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.
Billboard 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.
September 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.
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.
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.
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
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.