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CT Zero Energy Challenge Announces 2010-11 Winners

CT Zero Energy Challenge Announces 2010-11 Winners

Prizes honor projects for energy efficiency, affordability, and low projected operating costs

CT Zero Energy Challenge Announces 2010-11 Winners

CT Zero Energy Challenge Announces 2010-11 Winners

ZEC prizes honor projects for energy efficiency, affordability, and low projected operating costs

The Smart Meters Contentious Opponents

The Smart Meter's Contentious Opponents

They still remain very much in the minority, but anti-smart-meter groups are prompting investigations and continue to voice concerns about security and safety

Canadas Solar and NZE Power Play

Canada's Solar and NZE Power Play

A solar simulator and a research initiative at Concordia University in Montreal focus on solar energy applications and strategies for bringing building performance to net zero energy

Opportunity Accompanies Objections to Green Habitat Project

Opportunity Accompanies Objections to Green Habitat Project

Neighbors have stalled a 35-unit subdivision of energy efficient dwellings, but the delay gives a Habitat chapter time to refine its green building technique

Seattle Homeowners Build an Affordable Net-Zero-Energy House

Seattle Homeowners Build an Affordable Net-Zero-Energy House

One couple’s quest for energy efficiency leads them to a relatively low-cost approach to design and construction

The PV/Solar-Thermal Switch-up

The PV/Solar-Thermal Switch-up

As the cost of photovoltaic panels has declined, some developers of utility-scale renewable-energy power projects originally designed for solar thermal have been shifting to PV

Weatherizations Home-Stretch Recovery

Weatherization's Home-Stretch Recovery

Even though the expanded Weatherization Assistance Program struggled out of the gate – and can always be improved – it has produced encouraging, credible results

Uptick Expected in Lead-Paint Rule Enforcement

Uptick Expected in Lead-Paint Rule Enforcement

EPA official tells NAHB webinar participants that the agency is increasing inspections of RRP job sites and stepping up enforcement

DOEs Marketing Push for Aeroseal

DOE's Marketing Push for Aeroseal

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab touts the technology's track record for sealing leaks in duct systems and improving energy efficiency

Japans Emerging Smart-Town Boom

Japan's Emerging Smart-Town Boom

Corporations partner on development of large communities whose top priorities include energy efficiency, renewables, and energy storage

Tackling PVs Administrative Challenges

Tackling PV's Administrative Challenges

The DOE names contestants in a competition intended to make permitting and financing for photovoltaic systems quicker and cheaper

Researching Retrofit Technology in the Northwest

Researching Retrofit Technology in the Northwest

Using two identical, side-by-side homes as their laboratory, DOE researchers aim to measure the effectiveness of a variety of energy efficiency improvements

Taking Aim at Californias Low-Carbon Target

Taking Aim at California's Low-Carbon Target

As the state prepares to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels over the next 38 years, scientists predict a mostly electric future

Russias First Active House Gets a Test Drive

Russia's First "Active House" Gets a Test Drive

A Danish solar-panel company teams up with a Russian developer to build a home designed to showcase net-zero-energy performance

Knauf Chinese Drywall Settlement: 300 Homes to Be Repaired

Knauf Chinese Drywall Settlement: 300 Homes to Be Repaired

The agreement marks another step toward addressing litigation over drywall that off-gasses hydrogen sulfide

Lawmaker Targets DOEs Weatherization Program

Lawmaker Targets DOE's Weatherization Program

It's all part of Representative Chuck Fleischmann’s campaign to stop "green initiative abuse"

Utility-Scale Wind Power Getting Cheaper

Utility-Scale Wind Power Getting Cheaper

The cost of electricity generated by onshore wind turbines will, by 2016, be competitive with the cost of power from fossil-fuel plants, recent research shows

Energy Star Homes Big Builder List

Energy Star Homes' Big Builder List

Hundreds of builders have committed to meeting energy efficiency standards set by of Energy Star Homes Version 3, which takes effect beginning January 1

Survey: Americans Taking Half-Measures on Energy Upgrades

Survey: Americans Taking Half-Measures on Energy Upgrades

There’s still a disconnect between Americans’ awareness of energy efficiency benefits and the “magic number” of actions they need to take to significantly reduce their utility bills

EPA to Present Lead-Safe Webinar on Nov. 10

EPA to Present Lead-Safe Webinar on Nov. 10

The free session will focus on lead-sale practices, compliance, lead-safe certification, and recent rule changes

Judges Dismiss Cases Over Carbon Monoxide Deaths in Aspen

Judges Dismiss Cases Over Carbon Monoxide Deaths in Aspen

An HVAC contractor and a building inspector faced criminal charges in connection with the deaths of four people who were poisoned by carbon monoxide

A Senate Bill That Values Energy Efficiency

A Senate Bill That Values Energy Efficiency

Proposed legislation would require home appraisals to reflect expected energy costs, allow homeowners to recover investments in upgrades, and even create jobs in the retrofit and construction sectors

Through August, Remodeling Continued Its Climb

Through August, Remodeling Continued Its Climb

Once again, the Residential BuildFax Remodeling Index increased in both year-over-year and month-to-month readings

A Step Toward Fairer Energy-Efficient-Home Valuations

A Step Toward Fairer Energy-Efficient-Home Valuations

An appraisal form newly introduced by the Appraisal Institute aims to standardize analysis and reporting of energy efficiency features

Green Jobs Growing Share of Construction

Green Jobs' Growing Share of Construction

A McGraw-Hill Construction study indicates green jobs comprise about one third of the design-and-construction workforce

D.R. Horton Division to Market Its HERS Index Scores

D.R. Horton Division to Market Its HERS Index Scores

Another production builder commits to using the HERS Index to tout the energy efficiency of its homes

Solar Raises Its Voice in the Job Market

Solar Raises Its Voice in the Job Market

Despite competitive pressures and the failure of Solyndra, the solar-industry workforce has more than doubled since 2009, the Solar Foundation says in a report titled "U.S. Solar Market Insight: 2nd Quarter 2011," which can be viewed here: http://www.seia.org/galleries/pdf/SMI-Q2-2011-ES.pdf

The Governments Final Word on Problem Drywall

The Government's Final Word on Problem Drywall

The Consumer Product Safety Commission issues guidance for those who own homes afflicted with Chinese drywall

Remodelings Ascent Continued in July

Remodeling's Ascent Continued in July

Their financing options narrowed, homeowners focused on improving the property they have, according to the latest BuildFax survey

KB Homes ZeroHouse 2.0

KB Home's ZeroHouse 2.0

The builder rolls out a net-zero-energy option that includes photovoltaic power as well as energy efficiency measures well beyond those required by Energy Star

Shining Light on Solar-based Alliances between Builders and Utilities

Shining Light on Solar-based Alliances between Builders and Utilities

A state-backed, utility-run program in California shows how photovoltaics and energy efficiency measures are making economic sense for builders

A Positive Investment Perspective on Housing

A Positive Investment Perspective on Housing

FBR Capital Markets cites “overlooked” signs that a recovery may be underway for some production builders

The Case of the Shrinking New American Home

The Case of the "Shrinking" New American Home

The 2012 IBS showcase project, under construction in Florida, is smaller than past New American Homes, but still loaded

NAHBs Improving-Markets Tracker

NAHB's Improving-Markets Tracker

The association announces a monthly index showing which housing markets are on the upswing

Costs Decline for Meeting U.K.s Green Code

Costs Decline for Meeting U.K.'s Green Code

Homebuilders in a variety of sectors find ways to cut material, design, and construction costs as they accommodate energy efficiency requirements

In S.F., Factoring Green into Pricing

In S.F., Factoring Green into Pricing

The city contemplates a “green grade” certification program to help market homes built or retrofitted to be energy efficient

EPA Storm-Water Managements Unsettled Waters

EPA Storm-Water Management's Unsettled Waters

Challenges to its plans to reduce pollution runoff from construction sites have sent the EPA back to the drawing board once again

Adapting Home-Building Projects to Survive in a Down Market

Adapting Home-Building Projects to Survive in a Down Market

Phoenix-based Modus Development revisits a condo project proposed in 2007, and, in response to market conditions, redesigns it as rental apartments

Recalling Green Buildings Struggle for Legitimacy

Recalling Green Building's Struggle for Legitimacy

Eugene, Oregon, is now regarded as extremely accommodating to eco-friendly builders, but at least a couple of them remember when it wasn’t easy being green

Appraising the Appraisal Industry -- Again

Appraising the Appraisal Industry -- Again

Scrutiny of the appraisal system continues to intensify

Production Builders Sidle Up to Green

Production Builders Sidle Up to Green

Betenbough, Elite Homes, and KB Home add green certifications to their marketing toolbox

One view of the net-zero energy frontier

One view of the net-zero energy frontier

A white paper explores how builders, manufacturers, and government entities can develop the market for projects designed for net-zero-energy performance

Will Baby-Boomers Kids Save the Housing Market?

Will Baby-Boomers' Kids Save the Housing Market?

A look at the likely home-buying preferences of Baby Boomer offspring, who by 2025 will comprise a major segment of the market

NAR Weighs in on Housing Market Salvation

NAR Weighs in on Housing Market Salvation

The return to stability, the association says, will be shorter and easier if lending restrictions are reduced and if loan limits and the National Flood Insurance Program are extended

Miamis Real Estate Fever

Miami's Real Estate Fever

As the temporary slowdown in foreclosure processing sparks all-cash purchases by investors in South Florida, housing shows its potential for both recovery and volatility

Remodeling in May Keeps Up the Pace

Remodeling in May Keeps Up the Pace

Through May, the industry had a year and a half of consecutive gains, according to BuildFax

NAHB Cheers EPA Rejection of New Lead-Paint Dust Rule

NAHB Cheers EPA Rejection of New Lead-Paint Dust Rule

Still on the association’s wish list: a reliable, inexpensive lead test kit and a provision that would allow households with no children or pregnant women in residence to waive the rule requirements

NAHB v. Lead Paint Test Rule, Chesapeake Bay TMDL

NAHB v. Lead Paint Test Rule, Chesapeake Bay TMDL

The association wants a lead-paint test kit approved before the “dust-wipe” rule is enforced; it also joins a lawsuit to block implementation of Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load regulations

The Price Index Prism

The Price Index Prism

A Forbes columnist highlights differences between some of the most widely used home price indexes

Undercurrents of Conflict in Energy Efficiency Goals

Undercurrents of Conflict in Energy Efficiency Goals

While even production builders are marketing energy efficiency, many in the industry are reluctant to support a bill setting goals for net-zero-energy home performance by 2030

Concern Over EPAs Proposed New Lead-Safe Rule

Concern Over EPA's Proposed New Lead-Safe Rule

A dust-wipe testing rule would further boost the costs of renovations and repairs involving lead-safe practices, a recent survey indicates. But would it also alleviate liability concerns?

A Decent Run for Remodeling Through April

A Decent Run for Remodeling Through April

BuildFax data show 18 consecutive months of growth in home remodeling

Increasing Clarity about Green Priorities

Increasing Clarity about Green Priorities

A survey commissioned by Whirlpool and Habitat for Humanity show consumer focus on energy efficiency as the key feature

Concrete Paths to Energy Efficiency

Concrete Paths to Energy Efficiency

A near-zero-energy demo home co-marketed by BASF Corp. and other partners is designed to show concrete’s benefits in shell construction, while a builder in North Carolina pours concrete exterior walls for two homes aiming for Passivhaus certification

Remodelings Brightening Prospects, Part 5 of 5

Remodeling's Brightening Prospects, Part 5 of 5

Compared to the 2000s, the coming decade for remodelers is expected to feature more stability, and more spending in two key emerging markets, the Joint Center for Housing Studies says

Remodelings Brightening Prospects, Part 4 of 5

Remodeling's Brightening Prospects, Part 4 of 5

As housing prices near stability in some metropolitan markets, spending on remodeling in those markets is expected to recover at a healthy rate

Remodelings Brightening Prospects, Part 3 of 5

Remodeling's Brightening Prospects, Part 3 of 5

Although the remodeling industry is still highly fragmented, larger firms have continued consolidate and attract a growing share of jobs

Remodelings Brightening Prospects, Part 2 of 5

Remodeling's Brightening Prospects, Part 2 of 5

The Joint Center for Housing Studies takes a closer look at how remodeling’s ups and downs over the past decade reshaped the industry for the decade to come

Remodelings Brightening Prospects, Part 1 of 5

Remodeling's Brightening Prospects, Part 1 of 5

An analysis of remodeling and economic data puts the home-improvement industry on surer footing for 2011-2020. Part 1 offers an overview of a study prepared by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

Housing Permit Hot Spots

Housing Permit Hot Spots

A Reed Construction Data economist points out that housing permits are being pulled at relatively high rates in 19 cities, most of them in Texas and the Carolinas

Lead Paint Law Claims First Contractor

Lead Paint Law Claims First Contractor

EPA files a complaint against a Maine contractor for violating RRP requirements designed to protect children from exposure to lead-based paint

Market Jitters and AD&C Financing Aspirations

Market Jitters and AD&C Financing Aspirations

A “re-regulation” bill moves forward in the House while the new-home market lingers in neutral

Dow and Cobblestones Take on Affordable NZE Homes

Dow and Cobblestone's Take on Affordable NZE Homes

Marketing for Dow Building Solutions' insulation and solar-power products includes another collaboration with Cobblestone Homes, this time for an energy efficient home built for less than $250,000

Homebuildings Big Helper: Employment

Homebuilding's Big Helper: Employment

Economic recovery, and the housing market, won’t kick into gear without it

NAHBs National Green Building Awards

NAHB's National Green Building Awards

Thirteen builders, remodelers, and other industry pros took the honors at the National Green Building Conference

The Housing-Price Refrain

The Housing-Price Refrain

As home prices continue to slip, a market observer looks for trends in the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price indices

When the Housing-Engine Sputters, but Keeps Running

When the Housing-Engine Sputters, but Keeps Running

Even though builder confidence remains in a holding pattern, starts and existing-home sales in March suggest the market will avoid a plunge – and might even begin trending upward for the long term

Gauging the Effects of Low New-Home Inventory

Gauging the Effects of Low New-Home Inventory

With distressed properties continuing to plague the market, why do some observers obsess over new-home inventories? They have plenty of reasons, most of them good ones

Trulia’s Price Reductions Map

Trulia’s Price Reductions Map

The real estate website incorporates its listings data to an interactive map that allows users to zoom in on prices, price-reduction probabilities, and reduction percentages

Regulators Half-Measures for Foreclosure Processors

Regulators' Half-Measures for Foreclosure Processors

Big-bank mortgage servicers likely will be required by federal regulators to merely tidy up their still-messy processing, but state attorneys general and some housing advocates want banks to get serious about doing more loan modifications

One of the First NGBS-rated Homes in Hawaii

One of the First NGBS-rated Homes in Hawaii

A Bronze rating goes to one of the first homes in the islands to certify under the NAHB Green building program

The Housing-Bottom Finder: Mortgage Rates

The Housing-Bottom "Finder": Mortgage Rates

Market watchers expect prices to continue to inch down – unless rates start to inch up, prompting fence-sitters to start making offers

Green Building Busts Out for Spring

Green Building Busts Out for Spring

KB Home continues its green-features rollout, and NAHB is prepared to explore any and all marketing angles for green-building and green remodeling at its conference in May

The Skin in the Game Game

The "Skin in the Game" Game

Some say the newly proposed risk-retention rules for mortgage lenders are too stringent, although the regulations still wouldn’t apply to most mortgages currently being written – those guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie

Henleys Timely Entry into the U.S. Market

Henley's Timely Entry into the U.S. Market

Australia-based homebuilder Henley Properties’ expansion into the U.S., with land purchases and operations underway in the Seattle area, takes a position in a tough market

Housing Market Pressure Points

Housing Market Pressure Points

Homebuilders discuss the dearth of AD&C credit with lawmakers, while home prices sink and the Treasury prepares to sell mortgage-backed securities. Still, there’s hope for the spring home-buying season

Homebuildings Waiting Game

Homebuilding's Waiting Game

The homebuilding industry pauses to analyze the home buying expectations of Gen X

Mixing and Matching Market Indicators

Mixing and Matching Market Indicators

The Federal Reserve holds rates steady and the NAHB says builder confidence inched up, but Robert Shiller calls talk of the Fannie/Freddie wind-down discouraging

Predictions for Smaller, Greener Homes for 2015

Predictions for Smaller, Greener Homes for 2015

A recent survey of industry professionals indicates a trend toward fewer square feet and more low-e windows and engineered wood

NAHB Offers Guidance for Dealing with Tainted Drywall

NAHB Offers Guidance for Dealing with Tainted Drywall

A soon-to-be-released document for builders and remodelers includes strategies for identifying and dealing with drywall that off-gasses reduced-sulfur compounds

Marking an NAHBGreen Milestone

Marking an NAHBGreen Milestone

The homebuilder association says 2,000 projects nationwide have been certified under the National Green Building Standard

A Call for Entries: NAHBs Pillars of the Industry Awards

A Call for Entries: NAHB's Pillars of the Industry Awards

Open to a wide range of professionals in the multifamily industry, the 2011 edition of the competition includes five new award categories

Priming the Private Mortgage-Guarantee Sector (Very Carefully)

Priming the Private Mortgage-Guarantee Sector (Very Carefully)

If a 20% down payment becomes a requirement for a loan guarantee, can the housing market still thrive? Privatization hawks think so. But other credit-related issues will need attention first

Household Growths Mounting Pressure on Demand

Household Growth's Mounting Pressure on Demand

NAHB makes another pitch for easier credit based on a study highlighting predicted increases in household formation, a principal driver of housing demand

Awakening Remodeling, Quieting Foreclosure Fever

Awakening Remodeling, Quieting Foreclosure Fever

BuildFax data shows signs of life in the remodeling sector, while a recent Mortgage Bankers Association survey suggests the foreclosure tide will begin receding by the end of the year

KB Homes Mileage Sticker for Household Energy Use

KB Home's "Mileage Sticker" for Household Energy Use

Using RESNET’s HERS Index rating system and local utility rates, the homebuilder presents prospective buyers with an energy-cost estimate based on the home's design

Walking on Eggshells Over Mortgage Subsidies and Tax Breaks

Walking on Eggshells Over Mortgage Subsidies and Tax Breaks

It’s too early to tell what approaches will be used to wind down Fannie and Freddie and to possibly revise mortgage-interest tax subsidies, but housing industry will be watching closely

The Fannie-Freddie Debate Heats Up (Again)

The Fannie-Freddie Debate Heats Up (Again)

Pressure to reckon with the two government-sponsored enterprises is yielding ideas, and illustrating how difficult it will be to come up with a satisfactory solution

Getting on Board with Smog-Eating Roof Tiles

Getting on Board with Smog-Eating Roof Tiles

Introduced on KB Home prototypes last fall, the specially treated roof tile is now being offered by KB in developments in Southern California

An Uptick in Remodeling Expectations

An Uptick in Remodeling Expectations

The market outlook in many remodeling categories edges up as more homeowners show interest in moving ahead with upgrades

About That Year-end Pop in 2010 New-Home Sales

About That Year-end Pop in 2010 New-Home Sales

With help from a tax credit in California, sales in the West lift the overall numbers for December. But will any of it echo into 2011?

An FDIC Resource for Credit-Crunched Builders

An FDIC Resource for Credit-Crunched Builders

The agency’s new hotline and website allow small-business owners, including builders, to register concerns about credit availability

Keeping an Eye on Capitol Hills Spending-Cuts Big Talk

Keeping an Eye on Capitol Hill's Spending-Cuts Big Talk

It’s in the very early going, but all corners of the homebuilding and remodeling industries seem unlikely to escape completely unscathed

Achieving Energy Efficiency at the Right Price

Achieving Energy Efficiency at the Right Price

Maintaining affordability is the key factor for many NAHB members who design and construct their projects to meet the DOE’s Builders Challenge requirements

The Foreclosure Crisis Multiple Witching Hours

The Foreclosure Crisis' Multiple Witching Hours

Removing blight from a foreclosed home may mean more than a thorough remodel. Sometimes, some sellers and buyers say, spiritual blessings or exorcisms are in order

The Storm Over Storm Water Rules

The Storm Over Storm Water Rules

As the EPA imposes new total-maximum-daily-load rules in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, NAHB’s concerns grow about the prospects for more-stringent permitting, offset rules, and reporting requirements

Fannie and Freddie: Housings Financing Drama

Fannie and Freddie: Housing's Financing Drama

It’s too early to tell how the two government-sponsored enterprises will be transformed, but the outcome will likely have a significant impact on borrowers

Snapshots of Low-Risk Housing Markets

Snapshots of Low-Risk Housing Markets

Using the PMI Risk Index, SmartMoney.com highlights five locations that present the lowest risk of a price drop over the next two years

As Lenders Begin to Stir

As Lenders Begin to Stir

Commercial lending is showing signs of growth for the first time in two years, and steady, if incremental, growth is expected for 2011

Deadline Nears for NGBS Consensus Committee Applications

Deadline Nears for NGBS Consensus Committee Applications

The update of NAHB’s National Green Building Standard will include member participation in the standard’s Consensus Committee and a variety of Task Groups

Weighing the Confidence Factor

Weighing the Confidence Factor

With the second stimulus package approved, corporations flush with cash, and spending up, economists and consumers are feeling better about prospects for economic growth. Will it help housing?

NAHB Analysis: Its (Still) a Small-Builder World

NAHB Analysis: It's (Still) a Small-Builder World

Amid the downturn, small builders have gained single-family market share while big builders acquired land and reduced production

Tax Credit Extended for Builders of Energy Efficient Homes

Tax Credit Extended for Builders of Energy Efficient Homes

The new tax package extends, through 2011, the $2,000 credit for newly built homes that use no more than half the energy of those conforming to the 2003 national model energy code. Consumers get breaks too

IBS Show Homes: A Big Gulp, then Lighter Fare

IBS Show Homes: A Big Gulp, then Lighter Fare

Once you get a look at the New American Home for 2011, the other homes displayed in Show Village will seem modest by comparison, but no less interesting

Study: Smoking on the Jobsite Still a Tinderbox Issue

Study: Smoking on the Jobsite Still a Tinderbox Issue

A University of Toronto analysis of smoking-related discussions in Fine Homebuilding’s Breaktime forum cites ongoing tension between smokers and nonsmokers, but also acknowledges that addressing the issues can get complicated

A Look at Big-Builder Approaches to Green

A Look at Big-Builder Approaches to Green

Calvert Investments surveys the 10 largest publicly traded homebuilders on their efforts to integrate sustainability and improved resource conservation into their offerings

The Deficit Commission and the Mortgage Interest Deduction

The Deficit Commission and the Mortgage Interest Deduction

The housing industry maintains its opposition to the panel’s proposed limitations on mortgage eligibility for the MID. But for the time being, those proposals face a more immediate threat: a stubbornly sluggish economy

GE Aims to Bolster Alliance Between Smart Grid and Appliances

GE Aims to Bolster Alliance Between Smart Grid and Appliances

The Home Energy Management initiative is being designed to create a stronger identity for GE’s suite of appliances and energy-use tracking tools

Installations of Split-face Concrete Block Draw Scrutiny in Chicago

Installations of Split-face Concrete Block Draw Scrutiny in Chicago

Homeowners complain of water damage, while home-inspection contractors point to improperly installed and poorly maintained block, a local TV station reports

Affordability, Low Rates Team Up

Affordability, Low Rates Team Up

With mortgage rates below 5%, more than 70% of new and existing homes are, for the seventh straight quarter, ranked affordable for families earning the median income

Home-Building Outlooks Inch Upward

Home-Building Outlooks Inch Upward

Although access to consruction financing continues to be a problem, NAHB’s Housing Market Index and McGraw-Hill’s Outlook Report show slivers of light

Perspectives on the Homebuilding Deficit

Perspectives on the Homebuilding Deficit

Given the trends in population growth and the need to replace old inventory with new homes, the new-home deficit continues to grow. The question is, when will demand rebound enough for it to matter?

NAR Survey Affirms First-Time Homebuyer Surge

NAR Survey Affirms First-Time Homebuyer Surge

The association also highlights data showing decent return on investment, despite the downturn, for buyers who stay in their homes for eight years or more before selling

A Positive Outlook on Credit, with Housing Watching Intently

A Positive Outlook on Credit, with Housing Watching Intently

A leading economist predicts shifts in commercial and industrial lending that mean easier credit for small businesses

A Week of Mixed Signals, with a Lift in Hiring

A Week of Mixed Signals, with a Lift in Hiring

Remodeling Market Index stays put as NAHB reminds consumers tax credits are about to expire for energy-efficiency improvements; meanwhile, Meritage reports a third-quarter profit and the Labor Department reports an employment jump for October

NAHB Webinar Panelists: Housing Market Will Reawaken in 2011 and 2012

NAHB Webinar Panelists: Housing Market Will Reawaken in 2011 and 2012

The revival of the housing market, led this time around by employment gains, will unfold over next 18 to 24 months, economists say

Sales Finally Push Back at Market Headwinds

Sales Finally Push Back at Market Headwinds

New-home sales in September edge up, as does consumer confidence in October

Easing into the New, Stricter Rules for Appraisals

Easing into the New, Stricter Rules for Appraisals

With public comment about to open on interim federal requirements for appraisers, the homebuilding industry hopes clarity and fairness will prevail

AIA Billings Index Takes a Peek at Positive Territory

AIA Billings Index Takes a Peek at Positive Territory

Billings for residential projects were unchanged, but commercial and industrial specialties drove the index to its best score since early 2008

NAHB: Popularity of Small Homes Will Outlast the Recession

NAHB: Popularity of Small Homes Will Outlast the Recession

An analysis of Census Bureau data on housing starts shows that the median size of new single-families has declined since 2006 and, for a large segment of the market, is unlikely to climb back up significantly when the recession ends

KB Homes GreenHouse Venture, and Marthas Touch

KB Home's GreenHouse Venture, and Martha's Touch

Once again, Martha Stewart has teamed up with the builder’s designers, this time to create the look and feel of the first net-zero energy residence in the Builder Magazine Concept Home series

Remodeling Awards Honor Two Universal Design Projects

Remodeling Awards Honor Two Universal Design Projects

The NAHB Remodelers’ Homes for Life Awards highlight accommodations for aging in place and physical impairment

Shaping Customer Perspectives on Energy Retrofits

Shaping Customer Perspectives on Energy Retrofits

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab studied the subject for weatherization program administrators. One tip when talking to homeowners: avoid the work retrofit

Remodeling the Remodeling Business

Remodeling the Remodeling Business

Last month’s Remodeling Show attendees focused on timeless advice for adapting to new markets, taking on smaller jobs, and making business management skills a priority

Home Buyer Satisfaction Study: Cheers Amid the Downturn

Home Buyer Satisfaction Study: Cheers Amid the Downturn

Home buyers say they’re as satisfied as they’ve ever been with new-home builders and new-home quality, according to a recent J.D. Power study

Scaling Down Floor Space, Prices for First-time Buyers

Scaling Down Floor Space, Prices for First-time Buyers

With data showing that the first-time-buyer segment is growing, more builders are constructing smaller homes that are priced for first-time budgets

Sorting Through the Housing Markets Mixed Signals

Sorting Through the Housing Market's Mixed Signals

August sales of both new and existing homes simmer on low, although the market appears more stable; “cash-in refinancing” offers hope for the underwater crowd

AIA Survey: Practical Upgrades Prevail Over Luxury Add-ons

AIA Survey: Practical Upgrades Prevail Over Luxury Add-ons

The American Institute of Architects Design Trends Survey for the second quarter shows ongoing client interest in home performance improvements

Positive Signs in the Multifamily Sector

Positive Signs in the Multifamily Sector

Multifamily builders and rental brokers see stabilization in demand in many metro markets

Economist: A Sign the Market Isnt in Free Fall

Economist: A Sign the Market Isn't in Free Fall

Taking a glass-half-full perspective on mortgage purchase applications; also, Associated Materials is purchased by a San Francisco investment firm

Making Sense of Housings Role in the Economy

Making Sense of Housing's Role in the Economy

NAHB seeks to counter perceptions that the benefits of homeownership are dwindling, while a business columnist suggests that home values, which are returning to their historically close alignment with average income, don’t have that much further to fall

Seeking a Satisfying Answer to the Market Bottom Question

Seeking a Satisfying Answer to the "Market Bottom" Question

Where is the bottom of the market? Absent another homebuyer tax credit, but with improvement in the employment picture, we might finally find out

Cheap Land And (Slightly) Better Sales May Be (Comparatively) Good News For Home Builders

Cheap Land And (Slightly) Better Sales May Be (Comparatively) Good News For Home Builders

The builder continued to acquire options on land purchases because prices are down. Meanwhile, the builder’s stock price climbs as NAR reports modest pending-sales improvement for July

Women and Homebuying, Revisited

Women and Homebuying, Revisited

As women exert increasing influence on homebuying decisions, builders can take specific steps to leverage their marketing efforts

Housing Market Strategies, Short- and Long-term

Housing Market Strategies, Short- and Long-term

A major bond fund urges Fannie and Freddie to allow smaller down payments; NAHB cites concerns with a proposal to shift housing subsidies from homeownership to rentals

Existing-Home Sales Data for July Offer Few Surprises

Existing-Home Sales Data for July Offer Few Surprises

With the numbers showing that July sales swooned, inventory grew, and prices flattened, the housing market’s sour mood stays in its holding pattern

Housing Starts, Builder Confidence Still Awaiting a Cure

Housing Starts, Builder Confidence Still Awaiting a Cure

Foreclosures continue to squelch demand, prolonging the malaise in single-family starts and the Housing Market Index

EPA to Revise Sediment Limits for Storm Water Runoff

EPA to Revise Sediment Limits for Storm Water Runoff

Prompted by a lawsuit filed by NAHB and the Small Business Administration, the EPA agrees to rework limitations on construction site effluent

Solar Power Advocacy, with a Balk at the Nuclear Option

Solar Power Advocacy, with a Balk at the Nuclear Option

A utility watchdog in North Carolina touts solar as an economically viable alternative to nuclear power, while a Florida politician highlights solar’s jobs-generating potential

Remodeling, Home Price Numbers Float in the Trough

Remodeling, Home Price Numbers Float in the Trough

Analysts say there’s nowhere to go but up – or sideways

 Lawsuit Highlights a Weatherization Safety Issue

Lawsuit Highlights a Weatherization Safety Issue

A case in Michigan serves as a reminder that encounters with potentially hazardous materials are common for retrofitters, including those working under the Weatherization Assistance Program

Exploiting Heat and Photons in Solar Power Devices

Exploiting Heat and Photons in Solar Power Devices

Researchers at Stanford explore concepts for a solar cell that uses both photons and thermal energy for electricity generation

Feeding Real-Time Data to Microsofts Hohm

Feeding Real-Time Data to Microsoft's Hohm

Blue Line Innovations’ PowerCost Monitor is designed to track Hohm subscribers’ energy use by the second

Submissions Solicited for NAHB Best in American Living Awards

Submissions Solicited for NAHB Best in American Living Awards

A tribute to residential design excellence, the awards program is open to builders, architects, remodelers, designers, developers, land planners and interior designers

Title 24s CALGreen Code Release and Training Rollout

Title 24's CALGreen Code Release and Training Rollout

With mandatory compliance set to begin January 1, the ICC releases a key portion of the statewide code and announces upcoming training and certification programs

Housing Market Stabilized; Ready for Recovery

Housing Market 'Stabilized;' Ready for Recovery

Results for June suggest they’ve at least stabilized. Industry pros and investors don’t seem particularly surprised there’s no uptick

Women as a Growing Force in the Housing Market

Women as a Growing Force in the Housing Market

As Generation Y segues from renting to homebuying, women and certain minority groups are expected to drive demand, a research firm says

Firemans Funds Updated Green Coverage

Fireman's Fund's Updated Green Coverage

Expanded coverage for energy efficiency upgrades and environmental improvements

Reason for hope: When homebuyers get tired of waiting

Reason for hope: When homebuyers get tired of waiting

In Columbus, Ohio’s housing market low mortgage rates, the $8K tax credit, and diminished interest in waiting for prices to bottom have real estate pros talking about a possible thaw in the market.

The enduring power of curb appeal in green construction

The enduring power of curb appeal in green construction

Samuel Matchett, who in 1999 purchased the first home built under the EarthCraft House program, was drawn to the house primarily because he liked its design. Its energy efficiency and construction quality were icing on the cake.

Oklahoma builder, local government team up on green home construction

Oklahoma builder, local government team up on green home construction

Red Rock Builders, based in Edmond, Oklahoma, partnered with the city to build an Energy Star-rated home that will be used as a showcase for sustainable, energy efficient residential construction in Central Oklahoma.

Economic predictions revisited

Economic predictions revisited

Economists and housing analysts have become mordantly adept at extracting optimism (and pessimism) from the recession's hard-boiled statistics.

Practical ideas for political debate: tax credit proposals aimed at homebuyers, investors

Practical ideas for political debate: tax credit proposals aimed at homebuyers, investors

House Republicans suggest a $5K credit help borrowers cover refinancing closing costs, up to $15K in tax credit for homebuyers, and a tax break for investors who buy distressed homes and rent them out.

February new-home sales: An uptick toward stability, or simply another byproduct of low prices?

February new-home sales: An uptick toward stability, or simply another byproduct of low prices?

Economists expected a decline in new-home sales for last month, but Commerce Department figures show a 4.7% increase. The reality is, though, this happened as the median price fell 18% year over year.

Detours on the road to recovery: Second liens and unemployments drag on multifamily housing

Detours on the road to recovery: Second liens and unemployment's drag on multifamily housing

The government's refinancing program is aimed at first mortgages, but the Treasury Department still needs to come up with a way to satisfy lenders holding second liens. Also, NAHB summarizes builder concerns over unemployment and multifamily housing.

Couple who developed transhumanism architecture are among Madoff victims

Couple who developed "transhumanism" architecture are among Madoff victims

Japanese artist Arakawa and his wife, Madeline Gins, who say their intentionally disorienting housing designs prolong occupants’ lives by keeping them challenged, face a serious challenge of their own after losing their live savings to Bernie Madoff.

Restoring hope that credit will flow again to builders, homebuyers

Restoring hope that credit will flow again to builders, homebuyers

If private investors buy into the government’s program for clearing troubled assets from big banks, builders, buyers, and the housing market in general could benefit.

NAHB now selling National Green Building Standard document

NAHB now selling "National Green Building Standard" document

A product of collaboration between NAHB and the International Code Council, the "National Green Building Standard" describes green practices for all phases of residential development and construction.

More novices find their way to foreclosure auctions

More novices find their way to foreclosure auctions

Once a niche market, auctions of in-default or foreclosed properties nowadays attract not only veteran contractors and other investment pros but plenty of newcomers (who might soon need a contractor’s help).

Green news from both coasts

Green news from both coasts

That beater you’re driving? It could become metal studs for green housing. Also, a green-building supply manufacturer opens a plant in North Carolina.

Beating the sell-by dates on green tax credits

Beating the sell-by dates on green tax credits

The more consumers learn about tax credits for energy efficiency upgrades, the more likely they’ll be to take advantage of them before the credits time out.

NAHB: Big marketing potential in $8K tax credit

NAHB: Big marketing potential in $8K tax credit

The industry group says promoting the tax credit for first-time buyers could be the most potent way for builders to clear off excess inventory.

NAHB, big builders meet to ease tensions over strategic issues

NAHB, big builders meet to ease tensions over strategic issues

Big builders concerned with Jerry Howard’s stance on a long-sought tax break proposal met with NAHB leaders this week to address the issue. The upshot: Both sides agreed to set aside differences for now and resume talks soon.

Housing starts surge in February, led by apartment construction

Housing starts surge in February, led by apartment construction

The Commerce Department reported a 22.2% increase in construction of new homes and apartments as attention turns to strategies for freeing up credit.

NAHB: Builder confidence stays static from February to March

NAHB: Builder confidence stays static from February to March

The NAHB/Well Fargo Housing Market Index for March matched the HMI for February as homebuilders hold out hope for the stimulus package and spring selling season.

New Homes green emporiums to take aim at Home Depot, Lowes

New Home's green emporiums to take aim at Home Depot, Lowe's

In April, California-based New Home Inc. plans to open the first of eight showrooms featuring green supplies and services for homeowners, builders, and remodelers. Company CEO Rich Rifkin says the stores will take on long-established competitors.

NAHB chairman to Congress: Establish uniformity in mortgage market standards

NAHB chairman to Congress: Establish uniformity in mortgage market standards

Joe Robson tells a House committee that more efficiency and continuity need to be introduced to the operation of residential mortgage markets.

Foreclosure filings: Where are the brakes on this thing?

Foreclosure filings: Where are the brakes on this thing?

RealtyTrac says foreclosure filings in February climbed 30% over those during the same period in 2008. And with unemployment still on the rise, it remains uncertain the housing plan will do much in the short term to tame the foreclosure rate.

EPA report: Shift toward urban housing over past 15 years

EPA report: Shift toward urban housing over past 15 years

While most residential construction still takes place on the edges of suburbia, permits for housing in many of the nation’s most populous cities have been on the increase since 2002.

When builders compete with foreclosure-sale prices

When builders compete with foreclosure-sale prices

Selling new houses nowadays is challenging enough, but in many markets builders are also dealing with serious price competition from foreclosure listings.

Report: Roofing products market grew modestly from 2007 to 2008

Report: Roofing products market grew modestly from 2007 to 2008

A contraction of about 16% is forecast for 2009, but the market for green roofing products is growing.

GOPs Cantor to roll out alternative to Obama housing plan

GOP's Cantor to roll out alternative to Obama housing plan

The House minority leader Democrats have been calling “Mr. No” says Republicans will offer their housing proposal later this week. Yes, please. Anything that might add a good idea or two to the mix is welcome.

Standards group aims to clear up confusion over mirconized copper preservatives for wood products

Standards group aims to clear up confusion over "mirconized copper" preservatives for wood products

The American Wood Protection Association says some builders may be under the impression the preservatives are AWPA-approved, but the group says it has not evaluated them.

T. Boone Pickens to speak at NAHB green building conference

T. Boone Pickens to speak at NAHB green building conference

The man who made his fortune in oil and gas will bring his crusade for alternative energy to attendees at the 11th Annual NAHB National Green Building Conference.

Auctions abound in the Bay Area, too

Auctions abound in the Bay Area, too

Auction prices may help us determine where the market bottom is. One auction underway just across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco features 19 townhomes originally priced in the $530,000 range. Minimum bids start at $179,000.

One-stop (online) shopping for home improvement pros

One-stop (online) shopping for home improvement pros

Home show presenter American Consumer Shows launched a Web site this week that the company says will help homeowners find, review, and hire home improvement professionals.

Connecticut homebuilders hang in there

Connecticut homebuilders hang in there

Yes, the market is slow, but many residential building professionals in Connecticut are not burdened with excessive inventory, and sales prices are not being slashed dramatically.

Two special requirements for housing plan success: Perseverance and patience

Two special requirements for housing plan success: Perseverance and patience

It's too early to tell how many borrowers will respond to the housing plan, whose details were released this week. But loan servicers could be swamped.

Irony at a rehab center for troubled loans

Irony at a rehab center for troubled loans

PennyMac is buying distressed mortgages at deep discounts, renegotiating many of them to help borrowers avoid foreclosure, and making a lot of money in the process. What's interesting is that PennyMac is run by former top Countrywide executives.

Toll loss is narrower, but still shy of expectations

Toll loss is narrower, but still shy of expectations

By cutting expenses the luxury homebuilder pared its fiscal first-quarter loss by about 7% compared with the same period a year ago. But its revenue came in about 4% short of analyst predictions.

Taos building code goes green

Taos building code goes green

The New Mexico town recently adopted green building code based on Home Energy Rating System standards for residential construction and LEED standards for commercial buildings.

Beautiful Edwardian home in S.F. for only ... $150?

Beautiful Edwardian home in S.F. for only ... $150?

Believe it. One of San Francisco’s premiere arts showcases is selling $150 tickets to a fund-raising raffle whose grand prize is a $2.4 million home.

Existing-home sales contracts slide, but Fed chief affirms faith in stimulus plan

Existing-home sales contracts slide, but Fed chief affirms faith in stimulus plan

The National Association of Realtors’ index of pending home resales took a deeper than expected dive, but Bernanke is taking a positive, long-term view of the stimulus plan.

Citigroup to lower mortgage payments for unemployed borrowers

Citigroup to lower mortgage payments for unemployed borrowers

The troubled banking giant announced a program on Tuesday designed to give unemployed borrowers some breathing room as they hunt for jobs and try to recover financially.

Fourth-quarter delinquencies climbed as expected

Fourth-quarter delinquencies climbed as expected

Credit reporting agency TransUnion says mortgage delinquencies in the fourth quarter increased by more than 50% over those for the same period in 2007.

Wisconsin homebuilder aims to blitz past downturn

Wisconsin homebuilder aims to blitz past downturn

Robert Millay self-financed construction of 20 homes that went on the market -- and sold -- during a three-day weekend last spring. He'll roll out another 36 homes during a weekend in May, and fully expects to sell them all before the weekend is over.

Brokers, commentators parse pros and cons of recovery, budget plans

Brokers, commentators parse pros and cons of recovery, budget plans

It's too early to tell what parts of the recovery and budget plans will work, but not too early for assessments from industry experts and newsroom commentators.

Market bottom a moving target, but experts still point and shoot

Market bottom a moving target, but experts still point and shoot

The recession is driven by so many complex factors, economists are having an increasingly tough time predicting when housing will finally hit bottom.

Unexpected? New-home sales, prices in January reach new lows

Unexpected? New-home sales, prices in January reach new lows

The Commerce Department's report on new-home sales in January shows record drops in sales and prices.

The looming cramdown showdown

The looming cramdown showdown

President Obama is urging Congress to quickly approve a measure that would give bankruptcy judges authority to modify mortgages to prevent foreclosure, but many Republicans in the Senate are fiercely opposed to the idea.

For Fed chief, moral hazard risks are necessary trade-offs for greater good

For Fed chief, moral hazard risks are necessary trade-offs for greater good

In his second day of testimony on Capitol Hill, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said problems in the housing market are severe enough to warrant the sweeping scope of the housing plan.

NAR: Home resales drop 5.3% in January as prices slip 3%

NAR: Home resales drop 5.3% in January as prices slip 3%

Buyer uncertainty dragged down January's sales rate of existing homes, the National Association of Realtors reported on Wednesday.

The jumbo impasse

The jumbo impasse

One obstacle to moving inventory in high-end housing markets is that jumbo loans are now much harder to get, explains The Wall Street Journal. What's more, many of those who already have them won't qualify for the housing plan's refinancing provision.

Home prices post record drop in December, Bernanke says recession could end in 2009

Home prices post record drop in December, Bernanke says recession could end in 2009

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices points to a record drop in December, while the Fed chief says the current period of economic contraction could end this year.

Debating the housing plan debate

Debating the housing plan debate

U.S. governors, who met in Washington over the weekend, had their say about the merits of the stimulus and housing plans, and the housing secretary took to the airwaves on Sunday to defend the housing program.

Can investors, first-time buyers temper California’s housing downturn?

Can investors, first-time buyers temper California’s housing downturn?

Plunging prices in many areas of the state helped double sales activity in the fourth quarter, but it's still too early to predict when housing will begin its recovery.

One economists praise and criticism of the housing plan

One economist's praise and criticism of the housing plan

The housing plan announced this week has plenty to recommend it, but also a couple important flaws, says economist Edward Glaeser.

Aging-in-place advocate creates the ultimate demo – in her home

Aging-in-place advocate creates the ultimate demo – in her home

Interior designer Cynthia Leibrock is living the aging-in-place dream in her home in the Colorado Rockies, a showcase and laboratory for universal design.

The foreclosure plans potentially long reach

The foreclosure plan's potentially long reach

The Obama administration's foreclosure-prevention program is massive, well received by the financial industry, and, in the months to come, significantly help stabilize the housing market.

Mining deeper meaning from January’s starts and permits

Mining deeper meaning from January’s starts and permits

With starts and completions at record lows, some economists say, builders may finally be able to trim inventories in the coming months.

NAHB: A quick nod to the HMI survey, then on to stimulus highlights

NAHB: A quick nod to the HMI survey, then on to stimulus highlights

As expected, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which hit an historic low in January, remained in the single digits in February.

Housing remedies a mixed bag for lenders

Housing remedies a mixed bag for lenders

The White House is expected to offer lenders financial help in preventing foreclosures, but lenders also will have to share the cost, and they'll face much more scrutiny in the process.

Ex-cons escape gang life by going green collar

Ex-cons escape gang life by going "green collar"

A program in East Los Angeles helps ex-cons break away from life on the street by training them as solar-panel installers.

More banks halt foreclosures as they await Obama plan

More banks halt foreclosures as they await Obama plan

Two Florida banks joined big lenders such as Bank of America, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase in temporarily halting foreclosures as they await details from the White House on its foreclosure-prevention plan.

Housing predators do perp walk in Philly

Housing predators do perp walk in Philly

A grand jury in Philadelphia charged 15 people with fraudulently selling 82 unoccupied houses to unsuspecting buyers.

The ever-greening mind-sets of builders and buyers

The ever-greening mind-sets of builders and buyers

Worried about rising energy costs, home buyers are warming to green homes, and builders are responding accordingly, says a recent Wall Street Journal story.

Walking the foreclosure tightrope

Walking the foreclosure tightrope

RealtyTrac data show the rate of foreclosure notices dropped from December to January, and regulators want lenders to hold off further until the government's foreclosure-prevention program is implemented. Homebuilders, meanwhile, continue to hold their breath.

Toll revenue falls for 11th straight quarter

Toll revenue falls for 11th straight quarter

Toll Brothers saw a 51% drop in revenue during its first quarter and, although cancellations fell 39%, it weathered a 59% drop in the number of homes under contract, the company said in a preliminary earnings report.

Getting a grip on the bank rescue plan

Getting a grip on the bank rescue plan

Lack of details led to a tepid reception for the Treasury Secretary's plan, but his presentation did reveal how complicated it will be to get soured mortgage-related assets off banks' balance sheets.

KB Home commits to Energy Star guidelines for its new homes

KB Home commits to Energy Star guidelines for its new homes

KB Home says it is furthering its sustainable-energy goals by building all new-home communities opening in 2009 and beyond to Energy Star guidelines.

Economy.com: Housing may bottom in 2009, but unemployment also must ease

Economy.com: Housing may bottom in 2009, but unemployment also must ease

Moody’s Economy.com predicts housing prices in most metro markets likely will hit bottom by the end of 2009, provided the economic stimulus package is effective.

Geithner bailout plan adds to the toolbox for housing

Geithner bailout plan adds to the toolbox for housing

The Secretary of the Treasury resists imposing tougher rules on banks getting bailout money, but he is offering incentives for them to revive commercial lending and shed soured mortgage-related assets.

Spotlighting Florida’s “Ponzi” meltdown and the road ahead

Spotlighting Florida’s “Ponzi” meltdown and the road ahead

Summer storms are rarely kind to Florida, but its worst drubbing came from the housing downturn. Now the state's woes are serving as a backdrop for the president as he campaigns for the stimulus plan.

Many cooks in the mortgage-aid kitchen

Many cooks in the mortgage-aid kitchen

The government’s Hope for Homeowners mortgage aid program has so far helped only a handful of homeowners, mainly because of onerous fees, tight restrictions on who can apply, and heavy reliance on the voluntary cooperation of lenders. Fortunately, the need to address the program’s deficiencies is not lost on Congress or the White House.

Obama’s quick action on energy standards for household appliances

Obama’s quick action on energy standards for household appliances

President Barack Obama is expected to sign a memorandum that will require the Energy Department to enforce higher efficiency energy standards for household appliances such as dishwashers, lamps, and microwave ovens.

Habitat for Humanity co-founder Millard Fuller dies

Habitat for Humanity co-founder Millard Fuller dies

Millard Fuller, who almost three decades ago helped launch Christian homebuilding charity Habitat for Humanity and made it his life’s work to preach the “theology of the hammer,” died on Tuesday. He was 74.

Falling costs help D.R. Horton narrow quarterly loss

Falling costs help D.R. Horton narrow quarterly loss

D.R. Horton posted a net loss of $62.6 million for the quarter ended December 31, but falling costs at least softened the hit.

Housing gains ground in stimulus package

Housing gains ground in stimulus package

There's fevered activity on Capitol Hill as the Senate contemplates the stimulus bill, and measures addressing the housing crises have been dominating the conversation.

Will the Senate make housing a stimulus priority?

Will the Senate make housing a stimulus priority?

As the Senate begins putting its stamp on the stimulus package, it's under pressure to devote substantial resources to housing-market relief.

NAHB: National Green Building Standard gets ANSI approval

NAHB: National Green Building Standard gets ANSI approval

One of the most important and comprehesive green-construction rating systems for residential builders ever proposed, the ICC/NAHB 700, has been approved by the American National Standards Institute.

A little states big struggle with the foreclosure crisis

A little state's big struggle with the foreclosure crisis

Rhode Island is trying to make the most of $19.6 million it received as part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program passed by Congress last year. It's not an easy task.

Firemans launches green homeowner insurance in Minnesota

Fireman's launches green homeowner insurance in Minnesota

Fireman’s Fund Insurance, one of the first insurers to offer green coverage in the U.S., announced this week it is offering green homeowner insurance in Minnesota.

Trimming time, waste, and unfairness from foreclosures

Trimming time, waste, and unfairness from foreclosures

A Harvard economist offers his ideas for improving the foreclosure process.

A cold December for new-home sales

A cold December for new-home sales

Existing-home sales saw an unexpected uptick in December, but the month was far less kind to new-home sales, which fell 14.7%, according to data released Thursday by the Commerce Department.

NAHB: Show attendance parallels downturn

NAHB: Show attendance parallels downturn

The National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show, which featured exhibits by more than 1,600 companies, attracted 60,000 attendees to Las Vegas last week, about a third fewer than attended the show in 2008.

Watching Caterpillar, housing navigate troubled waters

Watching Caterpillar, housing navigate troubled waters

Investors responded to news of widespread layoffs by erasing the morning’s triple-digit gains on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. But by the closing bell, the DJIA landed with a modest gain, mostly because the National Association of Realtors’ news about December’s home sales had calmed nerves.

Why TARP is troubled

Why TARP is troubled

We’ve had plenty of time to digest the fact that many of the big banks that received billions under the Troubled Asset Relief Program didn’t respond as government officials hoped. Mainly, most of the big banks that got money haven’t increased lending.

Home Depot to cut 7,000 jobs, close Expo Design Center

Home Depot to cut 7,000 jobs, close Expo Design Center

Home Depot announced that it will trim 7,000 jobs and close its 34 Expo Design Centers, five YardBIRDs stores, two Design Centers, and seven HD Bath stores.

Housing inventory edges down, homebuilder shares edge up

Housing inventory edges down, homebuilder shares edge up

There are still too many houses on the market, foreclosures continue to mount, and prices are still dropping, but at least December saw a better-than-expected uptick in sales of existing homes, which prompted a rally in shares of some of the nation’s big homebuilders.

Warm, fuzzy, and filthy

Warm, fuzzy, and filthy

As part of a campaign encouraging consumers to change their furnace air filters regularly, home warranty provider American Home Shield is hosting a contest intended to find America’s dirtiest air filters.

Log exteriors with everything but the wood

Log exteriors with everything but the wood

Log homes are so much a part of the aesthetic and historical fabric of mountain living, it is hard for some homeowners and builders to embrace innovations intended to minimize use of a key log-home material: wood.

Mortgage-related layoffs ease

Mortgage-related layoffs ease

It’s too early to tell whether this part of the residential real estate machinery has actually hit bottom, but refinancing and foreclosure-mitigation are small first steps toward eventual housing-market recovery.

Jobless claims climb, housing starts fall

Jobless claims climb, housing starts fall

Housing starts in December and jobless claims last week set records. Unfortunately.

Southern California housing trawls the depths

Southern California housing trawls the depths

With prices falling and lenders off-loading foreclosed properties at deep discounts, few want to pay "retail" for a new home, so builders have put the brakes on new construction.

Housing experts do another reality check on 2009

Housing experts do another reality check on 2009

Tuesday was a day of sober reminders about the challenges ahead, first from President Obama in his inauguration speech, and then from a panel of housing experts at the International Builders’ Show who said 2009 likely will be when the housing market hits bottom.

Yet another look at builders struggle with lenders

Yet another look at builders' struggle with lenders

While the largest builders likely have enough cash to weather the downturn, that’s not true for many of the small and medium-size builders, who account for about 70 percent of new-home construction. NAHB estimates that at least 20,000 builders — about a fifth of the total nationwide — have closed up shop in the last two years.

Solar panel prices drop as supply climbs

Solar panel prices drop as supply climbs

If the current storm of economic misery is good for nothing else, it might at least produce an environmental windfall by boosting use of solar panels.

The TARP woulda, coulda, shoulda checklist

The TARP woulda, coulda, shoulda checklist

The loose requirements in the original plan have contributed to confusion over what the Treasury Department intended when it abruptly shelved its first proposal — to buy up bad mortgages — in favor of making direct investments in individual banks in return for preferred shares of stock.

Texas builder Wall Homes files for Chapter 11

Texas builder Wall Homes files for Chapter 11

It wasn’t all that long ago that Wall Homes was celebrated as one of the fastest-growing privately held homebuilders in the Dallas area. . .On Saturday, the Dallas Morning News reported, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Uncertainty, frustration persist over new pool-drain covers

Uncertainty, frustration persist over new pool-drain covers

Many pool and spa operators say they are still waiting for deliveries of pool-drain covers that are now required by federal law and designed specifically to prevent people from being trapped underwater by drain suction.

The height of low behavior: Foreclosure-service fraud

The height of low behavior: Foreclosure-service fraud

The fact that there are swindlers who prey on homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure shouldn’t come as a surprise. But considering the desperation of many such homeowners, the rapaciousness of the fraudsters, who usually demand upfront fees for foreclosure-mediation services they never render, is especially revolting.

A clearer path to recovery?

A clearer path to recovery?

The Fed has already pumped plenty of liquidity into the financial system, which lead us to conclude that the first priority needs to be housing-market stability. In other words, foreclosure relief.

NCCER launches Cornerstone of Craftsmanship campaign

NCCER launches Cornerstone of Craftsmanship campaign

If there ever was a time when affirmations were needed by those in the homebuilding business, this is probably it. Which is why there’s a propitious tone to the National Center for Construction Education and Research’s newly announced marketing campaign to “revive the meaning and importance of craftsmanship in the construction industry.”

Temporary shutdown, layoffs at Cemex plant in California

Temporary shutdown, layoffs at Cemex plant in California

The Portland Cement Association forecasts a “significantly weak” market for cement over the next two years, in part because public construction, which accounts for about half the cement used nationwide, has slowed along with the rest of the economy.

A mandate for Shaun Donovan: Sit at the main table

A mandate for Shaun Donovan: Sit at the main table

With housing issues so much on everyone’s mind, the housing secretary nominee, Shaun Donovan, became a person of especially intense interest during his confirmation hearing this week before members of the Senate banking committee. The good news is that the attention was positive.

Beazer says orders continue to plunge

Beazer says orders continue to plunge

In line with the past several months of housing-market misery, closings and orders for Beazer Homes USA continued their decline during the company’s first quarter, which ended December 31.

Is there hope for Hope for Homeowners?

Is there hope for Hope for Homeowners?

Democrats who control Congress and the Obama transition team both seem to understand that the Hope for Homeowners program has serious flaws. Now what?

Tarragon files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Tarragon files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Residential developer and multifamily investor Tarragon Corporation announced that it and some of its subsidiaries have filed a petition to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code.

Department of Housing and Mea culpa, Revisited

Department of Housing and Mea culpa, Revisited

A profile published Monday by The Wall Street Journal offers a more detailed look at former National Association of Realtors chief economist David Lereah’s post-NAR perspective and his attempts to rebuild his reputation and revive his career.

Lennar refutes scurrilous allegations

Lennar refutes scurrilous allegations

Homebuilder Lennar Corporation on Monday issued a statement denying allegations that its chief operating officer had received a mortgage on his home from the company and saying the company had never treated its joint ventures like a Ponzi scheme.

Department of Housing and Mea culpa

Department of Housing and Mea culpa

If you’re loud, obnoxious, and wrong about which team will win the Super Bowl, you lose your wager and look like a chump for a day or so. But if you boldly predicted the housing market wouldn’t take a dive – in the face of mounting evidence that serious trouble was brewing – you have a different sort of ignominy to deal with.

When opportunity turned to misfortune for Hispanic borrowers

When opportunity turned to misfortune for Hispanic borrowers

All too often, lending practices that accompanied well-intentioned initiatives to encourage homeownership among Hispanics erred toward the expedient rather than the prudent.

Hallelujah! Foreclosures prompt banks, NAHB to consider cramdowns

Hallelujah! Foreclosures prompt banks, NAHB to consider cramdowns

Citigroup, with the backing of the National Association of Home Builders, has struck a deal with Democratic leaders in the Senate to endorse legislation that would allow judges to set new repayment terms for mortgage holders who wind up in bankruptcy court.

Pulte pulls out of Long Island

Pulte pulls out of Long Island

Pulte Homes, which had entered the Long Island, New York, housing market almost seven years ago, recently sold all six of the communities it owned there to a local developer.

Will homes ever be smart?

Will homes ever be smart?

Cisco Systems, the technology company best known for computer routers, switches, and other network hardware, launched their “entertainment operating system” in prototype form this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The importance of being right at the right time

The importance of being right at the right time

When is being right the same as being wrong? When you’re an economist predicting correctly but too early – and in the face of reasoned opposition – that something is seriously out of whack.

NAR: Pending home sales drop in November

NAR: Pending home sales drop in November

Job losses and other weaknesses throughout the economy finally dented the National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index, which had been relatively stable during most of 2008 but declined 4%, to 82.3, in November from 85.7 in October.

Florida homebuilder wins tickets to inauguration

Florida homebuilder wins tickets to inauguration

The Obama team has been soliciting donations to help pay for the inauguration. One of the incentives to donate is the chance to win tickets to the welcoming ceremony, the swearing-in, the parade, and one of the inaugural balls.

A guide to cutting energy bills and taxes

A guide to cutting energy bills and taxes

It’s one thing for Congress to pass energy-conservation tax incentives for homeowners, it's another to make sure homeowners know about them. That’s where the Tax Incentives Assistance Project comes in.

Polishing the crystal ball

Polishing the crystal ball

The forecast for 2009 includes wind, rain, sleet, snow, sun, and moderate, hot, and cold temperatures, with occasional hurricanes and tornadoes. And that’s just the economic forecast.

Forbes investor team prognosticates on housing market

Forbes investor team prognosticates on housing market

Forbes.com released a transcript of housing-related comments by five participants in the annual forecast meeting of the Forbes.com Investor Team.

Greening the life cycle of carpet

Greening the life cycle of carpet

Making eco-friendly carpet – with an eye to how the material will be handled once the user is ready to replace it – is full of challenges, and carpet often doesn’t rank high on the list of green floor coverings. But that doesn’t mean the companies that make carpeting aren’t striving for a greener product.

Just Moulding welcomes potential franchisees

Just Moulding welcomes potential franchisees

Aiming to tap the renovation market, home improvement specialist Just Moulding announced this week that sold its first franchise, in Boston, and is now offering franchise opportunities to prospects nationwide.

Will flood of loans overwhelm the FHA?

Will flood of loans overwhelm the FHA?

The FHA relies on 24-year-old computer programs and lots of hand processing for applications that often weigh in at 150 to 200 pages each.

October home prices declined to March 2004 levels

October home prices declined to March 2004 levels

To almost no one’s surprise, home prices in October dropped in all 20 of the metropolitan areas tracked by the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price indexes, Standard & Poor’s said in a report released today.

World Savings in the subprime spotlight

World Savings in the subprime spotlight

It’s still too early to tell exactly how much damage so-called option adjustable-rate loans will do to the housing market, mainly because the payments on many of the more than 2 million of option ARMs sold won’t reset for at least a couple more years.

Foreclosures help skaters get air

Foreclosures help skaters get air

The wave of foreclosures in California’s Central Valley, parts of the Southwest, and Florida has created untold misery. But it also has left some skateboarders deliriously happy.

Making the most of loan modifications

Making the most of loan modifications

We’ve done a fair amount of ranting about the importance of foreclosure prevention, but also realize we’ve neglected an aspect of the process that is critical to its success: modifying loans to minimize risk of re-default.

 No gift in the stocking for housing?

No gift in the stocking for housing?

It’s fair to say that housing got its lump of coal well before the holiday season began and that the path to redemption has been strewn with, well, more lumps of coal.

Lower rates rev up loan applications

Lower rates rev up loan applications

For some people – a lot of them, actually – low interest rates are mortgage-loan catnip.

NAR: Existing home sales slip by 8.6 percent

NAR: Existing home sales slip by 8.6 percent

The pace of existing home sales plunged a record 8.6 percent in November.

A coroners report on the housing crisis

A coroner's report on the housing crisis

Hindsight can be brutal when it spotlights ignored warnings and missed opportunities, but it plays an especially prominent and unforgiving role in The New York Times’ recently published chronicle of events leading up to the economic meltdown.

Fix Housing First crescendo continues to build

Fix Housing First crescendo continues to build

The National Association of Home Builders and Fix Housing First are making sure no Congressional ear goes unbent before the next administration is sworn in.

Bosch Power Tools acquires parts of Freud Group

Bosch Power Tools acquires parts of Freud Group

Expanding its product lineup and strengthening its reach in North America, Bosch Group’s Power Tools division acquired parts of power-tool accessories specialist Freud Group.

USDA borrowers find the beef

USDA borrowers find the beef

Although it is best known as the guardian of the nation’s food supply, the USDA insured $7 billion in home loans during the 2008 fiscal year. The advantages of the USDA program are not lost on homebuilders. . .

The Madoff trickle-down effect

The Madoff trickle-down effect

With as much as $50 billion lost to Bernard Madoff’s alleged Ponzi scheme, there was bound to be fallout in the real estate market.

Lennar reports seventh consecutive loss

Lennar reports seventh consecutive loss

Lennar Corporation’s fiscal fourth quarter ended with an $811 million loss, the builder’s seventh consecutive loss, as its fortunes continued to parallel general economic trends.

The affordable home, redefined

The "affordable" home, redefined

Even if they haven’t hit bottom, housing prices in some parts of the country have dropped to the point where they are routinely described as “affordable.” What’s significant about that is the description isn’t an exaggeration.

Hovnanian posts ninth consecutive quarterly loss

Hovnanian posts ninth consecutive quarterly loss

The quarter, which ended October 31, was Hovnanian Enterprises' ninth consecutive to show a loss. The company is the nation’s sixth-largest homebuilder.

Housing in November: Another nonstarter

Housing in November: Another nonstarter

Housing starts go where builder confidence goes, and right now the two are trolling the depths.

Obama picks Shaun Donovan to run HUD

Obama picks Shaun Donovan to run HUD

The man currently serving as New York City’s housing commissioner, Shaun Donovan, will lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the new administration.

About those job cuts and foeclosure trends. . .

About those job cuts and foeclosure trends. . .

Loan modification programs and laws designed to delay the foreclosure process have helped lower the foreclosure rate. The problem is, the number of loan defaults and foreclosure auctions is predicted to increase next year, right along with unemployment.

Will partisan bickering give way to good recovery plans?

Will partisan bickering give way to good recovery plans?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but economic recovery proposals often are as much about political ideology as they are about developing sensible programs and policies.

NAHB ratchets up call for housing stimulus

NAHB ratchets up call for housing stimulus

Fix Housing First, NAHB's coalition of housing advocates, has been at the forefront in calling for the government to implement housing stimulus measures that can be applied broadly and, if the coalition is correct, yield positive results relatively quickly.

Getting a grip on housing-program oversight

Getting a grip on housing-program oversight

Program oversight is critical, but how does an agency oversee programs that have thousands of players and many more thousands of clients?

NAHB announces staff and operating cutbacks

NAHB announces staff and operating cutbacks

The recession has hit not only homebuilders but also their primary advocates, including the National Association of Home Builders, which on Tuesday announced job and budget cuts intended to save the association $11.5 million in 2009.

ForeclosureS.com: Housing recovery begins in 2009

ForeclosureS.com: Housing recovery begins in 2009

Forecasting market behavior is a demanding exercise, but it also is an instructive one because it can highlight trends, successes, and setbacks in useful ways.On Tuesday, for example, real estate...

Toll Brothers trims loss slightly in fourth quarter

Toll Brothers trims loss slightly in fourth quarter

Robert I. Toll, chairman and chief executive, believes a less crowded playing field, combined with attractive long-term demographics, will reward those well-capitalized builders who can persevere through the current challenging environment.

How downturn disrupts retirement havens and wealthy enclaves

How downturn disrupts retirement havens and wealthy enclaves

Many baby boomers are resisting retirement-home living in favor of adapting their current homes to their “aging in place” needs – a pattern that could bode well for remodelers.

Paslode issues fuel cell recall

Paslode issues fuel cell recall

Paslode has determined that a small percentage of tall red fuel cells designed for use in Paslode cordless framing nailers can leak fuel when the metering valve is attached to the fuel cell, which can result in a potential fire hazard.



Recent comments


Re: Concrete Paths to Energy Efficiency

Many thanks for the comment, ecdunn. I should have been clearer in explaining the costs of the project, whose $750,000 listing price includes land costs of $300,000 -- the starting price for infill lots in this particular Chapel Hill neighborhood. Construction costs came to $450,000. I've altered the blog text accordingly.
Richard Defendorf