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Realty News Report: News Posts from the NAHB Builders’ Convention in Orlando

Former Md. Gov. Martin O’Malley, who ran for president in 2016, and Realty News Report Editor Ralph Bivins at the Sustainability Symposium in Orlando.

Former Md. Gov. Martin O’Malley, who ran for president in 2016, and Realty News Report Editor Ralph Bivins at Green Builder’s recent Sustainability Symposium in Orlando.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Realty News Report, the only Houston-based media outlet to attend the recent national builders convention in Florida, reports that a construction rebound appears to be brewing in the nation.

Some 80,000 home builders, remodelers, developers, designers and their trade partners attended the National Association of Home Builders’ International Builders’ Show Jan. 10-12, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Here’s a summary of the convention news:


Multifamily Housing Market Cools, but Stays Robust

ORLANDO, Fla. – Apartment construction will slow down in 2017, according to a panel of experts at the National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show in Orlando.

NAHB Senior Economist Robert Denk explained the “extremely volatile” nature of multifamily starts data. Nonetheless, he said, this segment “is slowing down from recent historical highs in response to more sustainable demand.”

Market indicators, including vacancy rates and inflation in rents, point to still-robust production, but show a cooling-off in the marketplace after the sizzling pace of recovery. Denk expects multifamily production to drift down modestly from its 2015 peak of 395,000 units.

“The demand for affordable rentals already outstrips supply, and that imbalance will only get worse. Demand will increase as the millennial generation fully enters the housing market, and those aging baby boomers with minimal savings will be looking for housing they can afford on a budget that depends primarily on Social Security,” said Steven Lawson, president of The Lawson Cos. in Virginia Beach, Va.
High-End London-style Development in Houston Honored in National Design Competition

ORLANDO, Fla. — Winfield Gate, a London-style luxury townhouse community in Texas near Houston’s downtown, was honored as the Multifamily Community of the Year in the 2016 Best in American Living Awards by the National Association of Home Builders.

Winfield Gate’s exterior evokes the stately lines of Winfield House, the U.S. ambassador’s residence in London.

The builder constructed 20 residences four and five stories tall, with elevators, on 1.3 acres near River Oaks. The average sales price was $1.9 million.

The project was designed by Preston Wood & Associates LLC, then built and developed by Winfield Gate Partners LLC, both of Houston. The team also included land planner Vernon G. Henry and Associates, also of Houston.


 Texas Builder Elected Chairman of NAHB

 ORLANDO, Fla. — Granger MacDonald, a Kerrville, Texas-based builder and developer with 40 years of experience in home construction, was elected 2017 chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.

MacDonald is chairman and CEO of the MacDonald Companies, a development, construction and property management enterprise with nearly 50 neighborhoods completed and managed throughout Texas.


Photos by Craig H. Hartley/HBJ Single portrait: Jim Frankel, President of Frankel Building Group, 5701 Woodway, Suite 200. Group portrait L-R: Scott Frankel, Vice-President; Jim Frankel, President; Kevin Frankel, Vice President.

Scott Frankel

 Houston Home Builder Honored as NAHB’s ‘Best in Green’ Young Professional of the Year

ORLANDO, Fla. –The National Association of Home Builders named Scott Frankel, co-president and principal of Frankel Building Group in Houston, as the 2016 Best in Green (BIG) Young Professional of the Year. The award was given at the Best in Green Awards event during the International Builders’ Show.

The annual award recognizes up-and-coming green and sustainable professionals in the building industry.


Texas Builder Named 2016 NAHB Custom Home Builder of the Year

 ORLANDO, Fla. — Luis Jauregui, owner of Jauregui Inc. in Austin, has been honored as Custom Home Builder of the Year by the National Association of Home Builders Custom Home Builders Committee. The honor was presented during the NAHB International Builders’ Show.

Jauregui has developed a fully integrated design-build process using a 30-member, in-house team of site managers, project managers, estimators, real estate specialists, architects, landscape architects and interior designers.


Housing Will Continue Gradual Climb to Higher Ground in 2017

ORLANDO — Lots, labor and lending will steer the U.S. homebuilding industry this year, with single-family housing starts expected to increase 4.9 percent to 1.16 million from a year ago, it was reported at the National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show.

Rob Dietz, Chief Economist, NAHB

Rob Dietz, Chief Economist, NAHB

Mortgage rates will average 4.5% this year before ticking up to 5.3% in 2018, added NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

“Labor is a constricting factor on how much home building will grow, and one of the three L’s that could constrict growth — the others being lots and lending.”

Dietz noted that in terms of labor, the rate of unfilled jobs currently in the building industry is 2.7%, more than the 2.5 % reported at peak of the building boom.

“Wages for the construction industry should rise, but we have to recruit new construction workers.  The median age of the construction worker now is 42, and aging.  If I could make one change on the supply and demand side, it would be to get more workers into the labor pool.”

Lots are also limiting single-family home construction in the US, he said, with some 64% of builders reporting a low or very low supply of lots.  “It’s the legacy of the great recession,” he added. “With that big inventory of lots worked off, we need local governments to approve more.’

Additional lending to builders – particularly smaller firms — is also needed, he added, since small builders most of the homes.

Mortgage rates are up three quarters of a percentage since last year and will probably increase further, said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic.

However, rising mortgage rates shouldn’t have an adverse impact on housing demand, said David Berson, chief economist for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. “Rising mortgage rates will be offset by stronger wage gains and job growth,” he added.  “So housing growth should increase this year.  The question is how much?”


Continued Growth Shows in 55-plus Housing Market

ORLANDO, Fla. — The 55-plus housing market is expected to keep on its path of growth, according to industry experts at a press conference during the NAHB convention in Orlando.

“We know, anecdotally, that the 55+ housing market has been growing and is likely to continue to grow for the next decade, and now we have new numbers that back that up,” said Paul Emrath, NAHB’s vice president of survey and housing policy research.

Builder confidence has increased over the past several years, he said. “NAHB’s 55+ Single-Family Housing Market Index, which is based on a survey of members, regularly posted year-over-year gains from 2012 through 2015, and has remained in a very positive position through 2016.”

As the boomer generation ages, many are looking for a smaller home with a floor plan that makes single-level living possible, but with space for visiting family members and entertaining friends.

Jan. 22, 2017 Realty News Report Copyright 2017

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