Industry Trends5 min

How “Attainable” Are New Homes?

When people talk about home “affordability” it boils down to one number: the asking price. But home “attainability” is a more complex equation. Attainability refers to a prospective buyer’s ability to find an entry-level home (no easy task these days), obtain a loan and pay for 30 years of ancillary costs like utilities, maintenance and insurance.

Here’s a shocking statistic that shows why home attainability is out of reach for millions: according to government figures, the median net salary of U.S. workers is 31 561 $. That means that after taxes, 50 % of American workers take home less than that amount.

Some cities are now homebuyer magnets because they offer a real shot at attainability. In El Paso, for example, a worker can qualify for a new home loan with an annual gross salary of just 32 185 $. In Oklahoma City, a gross salary of 33 507 $ is all that’s required. There are many other cities across America that have ample attainable housing, including Roanoke, Va., Battle Creek, Mich., and Binghamton, N.Y. 

Builders in these communities are providing plenty of starter homes, not just high-end models. In El Paso, half of all new homes cost less than 158 000 $. That makes the long-term costs of insuring and maintaining a home much easier to bear.

The bottom line: we can’t all live in Beverly Hills. Fortunately, there are still builders who understand that society benefits greatly when housing is attainable.

Continue Reading
Industry Trends5 min

Strong Demand for “Zero Energy Ready” Homes

Homebuyers are quickly realizing that there's a new symbol of excellence in energy-efficient homebuilding: the Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) certification from the U.S. Department of Energy DOE. Currently only select builders meet the levels of excellence and quality required for ZERH certification - but their numbers are growing as homebuyers learn more about the program.

Continue Reading
Industry Trends5 min
Attracting More Millennial Homebuyers

About half of America's would-be homebuyers are Millennials, but many have postponed their first home purchase because of sizeable student loan balances and lifestyle choices. However, there are clear signals that more Millennials are now ready and willing to take on a home mortgage. That's especially true in metro areas that rank high on WalletHub's "Fun Index," U.S. News & World Report's "Quality of Life" index, and Meyers Research's "Housing Availability" metric. According to the real estate market analysis, there were seven metro areas where building permits grew by 15 percent or more last year, including Orlando, Houston and Minneapolis.

Industry Trends4 min
Some Common Misconceptions About Building Enclosures

It's easy for small amounts of water to enter a home's wall cavity, both during and after construction. When water evaporates it becomes a gas (water vapor) that needs to escape. If the walls can't completely dry, a home is more likely to experience mold and rot.

Industry Trends5 min
What Architects Need to Know About Off-Site Construction

Why the "Field Verify" Approach Can't Last Forever Last year LP invested 45 $ million in Entekra, one of the nation's leading off-site homebuilders. As this type of construction gains popularity in the U.S., a number of architectural firms have asked Entekra to do presentations about how to successfully design for off-site homebuilding.