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DBJ reports weekly residential permits pulled
December 12, 2013 — The Denver Business Journal recently revamped its newspaper. As part of its restructuring, it now lists residential permits pulled each week for both new construction and remodels / addiitons. Here's a tally of members' permits pulled for the week of November 29, as reported in the December 6-12, 2013 issue:
Cline Design Group, Inc.
Multifamily residence, 3351 W. 20th Ave., $254,500
Multifamily residence, 3349 W. 20th Ave., $256,600
G.J. Gardner Homes
Single family residence addition, 1221 Emerson St., $82,800
Single family residence, 1219 Emerson St., $322,500
Single family residence, 4040 Bryant St., $300,000
Single family residence, 4972 Cathay St., $223,791
Single family residence, 5129 Andes Way, $259,052
Single family residence, 5154 Andes Way, $259,052
Single family residence, 5158 Andes Way, $259,052
Parkwood Homes - Stapleton II
Single family residence addition, 8851 E. 33rd Ave., $364,277
Single family residence addition, 8831 E. 33rd Ave., $309,361
Single family residence addition, 3302 Xenia St., $288,043
Single family residence addition, 8871 E. 33rd Ave., $284,679
Single family residence, 8110 E. 50th Pl., $238,531
Simple math avoids losses when calculating ideal listing price
December 11, 2013 — Homebuilders and suppliers often think profitability issues are a marketing problem, when it's a simple math problem, according to Jeff Prager with Backroom Management. The key to reaching your ideal price — and staying out of the red — is to accurately calculate cost, commission and profit margin.
For example, let's say your cost to build a home is $300,000. And for the sake of easy math, the sales commission paid on that home is 10%. For many, it would make sense to then list the home for $330,000. Yet with a 10% commission, you're paying out $33,000 and are now $3,000 in the red ($300,000-$33,000 = $297,000).
Similarly, because you actually want to be profitable, let's say you want a 25% profit margin. Simply adding that to your costs puts you in the hole even more. Here's how: 25% of $300,000 is $75,000. Selling the house for $375,000 with a 25% profit goal ($93,750) nets you $281,250 — $18,750 less than your $300,000 cost!
Prager's formula shows that for the above scenario, the home should be listed for $461,538. To find out how he got there, read more...
Permits pulled up nearly 30% over last year
December 4, 2013 — Homebuilders in the Denver metro area pulled permits for 573 single family homes in October, a 28.5 percent boost over October 2012, according to Inside Real Estate News, which cited the HBA. Through October, builders pulled permits for 5,708 single family homes, which is almost 25 percent more than last year's 4,583 permits pulled through October. Richmond American Homes alone pulled 1,075 permits in the first ten months.
While single family home permits pulled in September dipped by almost ten percent — mostly due to rising interest rates and lot scarcity — the market quickly got back on track in October as new projects started to come on line. Multifamily permits are on the rise, as well. Through October, homebuilders pulled 1,000 permits for single family attached homes, mostly townhomes. This represents a 38 percent increase over the same period last year.
While demand for homes continues to be strong in Stapleton and Midtown master communities, the HBA report showed that demand is good in Parker, Castle Rock, Douglas County, Aurora, Thornton and eastern Boulder, as well. Read more...
Case-Shiller Home Price Index shows Denver hits another new high
November 26, 2013 — Through September, the S&P Down Jones Indices for its S&P Case-Shiller Indices showed that Denver's home price index rose to 147.30 — a new high — an increase of .2 percent in the third quarter and 9.9 percent over the last four quarters. Nationally, the Case-Shiller Indices rose 3.2 percent in the third quarter and 11.2 percent over the last four quarters.
The report noted that across the country, average home prices have returned to their mid-2004 levels. The report also showed that the 10-city composite has recovered 22.9 percent from the March 2012 low, while the 20-city composite has recovered 23.6 percent.
And while 19 cities decelerated from August to September, 12 MSAs showed double-digit increases; Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco all posted gains of more than 20 percent. David Blitzer, chair of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, observed that the second and third quarters were good for home prices. With 13.3 percent year-over-year growth both the 10- and 20-cities composites posted their highest annual numbers since February 2006.
"Regionally, the West continues to lead," Blitzer said. "The strong price gains in the West are sparking concerns about another bubble. This time, however, the talk is on the fear of a bubble, not a rush to join the party and buy. Other data suggest a market that's beginning to shift to slower growth, rather than one about to accelerate."
He added that housing continues to emerge from the financial crisis and consumers' balance sheets are gaining strength. "The longer-run question is whether household formation continues to recover and if home ownership will return to the peak levels seen in 2004." Read more...
Double digit home remodeling growth expected to continue through early 2014
November 22, 2013 — The home remodeling market continues to gain ground through the end of the year, and is expected to continue double digit growth through early 2014, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University's Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity.
The report, released by Harvard's Remodeling Future Program, noted that while spending is expected to continue at a double digit pace for the next several months, a slowdown is expected by mid 2014. The Joint Center's Managing Director, Eric Belsky said that the softening in the homebuilding industry, combined with increasing financial costs is expected to slightly slow home improvement spending by mid year. However, he added, "even with this projected tapering, remodeling activity should remain at healthy levels."
Near term, the Joint Center emphasized that homeowner spending on improvements is expected to see its highest growth since the height of the housing boom.
Metrostudy reports that this year, residential remodeling is its strongest since 2007
November 19, 2013 — Metrostudy's recent Residential Remodeling Index reported that remodeling and replacement projects continue to come in stronger than anticipated. Metrostudy, a Hanley Wood company, reported that the RRI score for the third quarter is 93.3, a two percent improvement over second quarter results.
This is the seventh consecutive quarterly improvement and Metrostudy reported that it expects this year will be the strongest for replacement and remodeling activity since 2007, when the remodeling industry bottomed out. "Remodeling and replacement activity has kicked into high gear as a result of robust existing home sales, strong home price appreciation and rebounding consumer confidence," observed Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Hanley Wood. Read more...
Remodelers: Do homeowners really want energy efficient homes — or do they just say they do?
November 15, 2013 — While the chatter about climate change continues, what homeowners say they want in a home isn't always followed up by their actions, according to a results from the Shelton Group's annual Energy Pulse study, as reported by Eco Building Pulse. According to the study, 81% of respondents said that energy efficiency would have somewhat to very much of an impact when selecting between two homes. That also aligns with the NAHB study, What Buyers Want.
Yet the Shelton Group study found that when homeowners were given hypothetical money, they spent it on a kitchen or bathroom remodel first, followed by window then HVAC replacements. In fact, the report showed that 55 percent of respondents were likely to make non-energy efficiency improvements to their homes in the near future. The study further showed that homeowners who make more than $100,000 were less likely to be concerned with energy efficiency than those who make less than $25,000. Read more on the Energy Pulse Survey.
MDC's Mizel to Wall Street analysts on regs, construction delays, credit conditions: 'We just deal with it'
November 12, 2013 — MDC Holding's CEO and Chair Larry Mizel recently talked with Wall Street analysts about the company and the homebuilding industry. According to Inside Real Estate News, The Richmond Homes parent has '$800 million in cash on its balance sheet, a 52% year-over-year increase in its lot supply and improving margins.'
And, Mizel said, whatever is thrown in the homebuilders' direction — from changing government reglations to construction delays, credit challenges and the reality of new normal being slower growth — he just deals with it. "Over four decades, whatever happened, we've figured it out," Mizel said. And because it's impossible to know what regulators are going to do, or the effects those decisions will have on the homebuilding industry, MDC has been rolling with the punches since it was founded in 1972.
When he commented that market conditions have eased up on land purchases, analysts asked if that meant MDC is shifting its strategy to buying finished lots. He simply quipped, "No, it means we're open for business."
Later in the interview, when talking about the tough credit conditions that continue to persist, he observed that if homebuyers didn't read the paper or watch TV, "I think things would be a lot better." Read more...
Markel Homes breaks ground on new north Boulder community
November 5, 2013 — Markel Homes Construction Company — along with Coast to Coast Residential Development Corp. — broke ground on a 10-acre parcel in north Boulder near Kalmia Ave., east of Sale Lake. Kalmia38 will offer 57 architecturally diverse and energy efficient single family homes on 38 prime lots. The community also will include duplexes and townhomes. Model homes will be completed in the spring.
Built to the latest EnergyStar® and Indoor airPlus® certifications, Kalmia38 homes will range in price from the $700s for duplexes to $1.25 million for single family homes. Square footage will range from 2,500 to 4,000 sq ft. The project will also include affordable homes, under the city of Boulder's Homeownership Program, where townhomes will be priced from $181,100, duplexes will be priced from $298,500 and single family homes will be priced from $334,900. Read more...
NAHB endorses introduction of flood insurance legislation
October 30, 2013 — NAHB's Chair Rick Judson applauded the introduction of bipartisan legislation in both the Senate and House to provide homeowners with relief from soaring flood insurance premium rates. "The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act offers a common-sense solution to fix some of the costly and unintended consequences resulting from the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act" [of 2012]," he said.
The Biggert-Waters Act extends the national flood insurance program for five years and requires significant changes to many aspects of the program. Unintended consequences include flood hazard areas that were redefined, which can affect millions of homeowners. It also meant premium rate hikes. When the Act was passed, it was expected that there would be rate hikes, however, FEMA had not yet evaluated the rate changes for properties located within a special flood hazard area that were constructed before a community adopted its first flood insurance rate map. So it was largely unknown about what those rate hikes would be.
Judson said that the new legislation would "prevent premium rate hikes from taking effect for four years, which will give FEMA time to conduct an affordability study and to reimburse those who can prove that its existing flood plain maps are inaccurate. The measure also requires FEMA to adopt sound engineering practices to accurately determine flood risk."
He added, "These provisions in the insurance reform bill will prevent undue hardship on the recovering housing market, help current and future policyholders keep their premiums affordable, prevent home values from dropping and make the National Flood Insurance Program more effective for years to come.
Case-Shiller: Denver set new highs in August
October 29, 2013 — With a 10.1% increase over last year, the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices reported that the Denver MSA closed out August at a 146.95 level — another new high. The report's 10- and 20-city composites showed an overall 12.8% increase nationwide over last year, with a 2.9 percent gain in Las Vegas (its highest since 2004), closely followed by Detroit and Los Angeles, each showing a 2 percent gain.
David M. Blitzer, chair of the Index Committee at the S&P Dow Jones Indices, observed that both the 10- and 20-city composites showed their highest annual increases since 2006. "And all 20 cities postesd positive year-over-year returns."
He added, "The monthly percentage change for the 20-city composite show the peak rate of gain in home prices was last April. Since then, home prices continued to rise, but at a slower pace each month." That is, except Denver and Phoenix, which each posted 20 consecutive annual increases. Read more...
Remodeling Market Index climbs for second quarter in a row
October 24, 2013 — The NAHB reported that the Remodeling Market Index rose to 57 at the end of the third quarter. This was the highest reading since 2004 and any number above 50 reflects that more remodelers reported activity was higher than in the previous quarter. Three major components comprise the score: Major additions and alterations, minor additions and repairs and maintenance and repair. The third quarter showed the first segment increased from 51 to 55, minor additions and repairs rose from 55 to 58 and the third segment increased from 57 to 59.
The RMI's current market index conditions rose from 54 in the previous quarter to 58, the highest reading since it was created in 2001. This increase was partly driven by rising existing home sales.
DBJ names Wonderland Homes one of area's fastest-growing private company
October 21, 2013 — Two years ago, Wonderland Homes had revenues of $16 million. Last year, the homebuilder rounded out the year with $34 million, and landed it as the Denver Business Journal's third fastest-growing private company in its category. The Flight II category lists companies with revenues between $18.2 and $44.9 million.
The downturn forced the homebuilder to pare down its staff by 76 percent, then concentrate on "the most successful product line that we were delivering to the market," said President Steve Phua to the DBJ. That product line was homes in the $300,000 range — mostly in Stapleton — and catering to both downsizing and first-time homebuyers. Wonderland Homes also invested in software that tracked homebuyers' activity from the first visit through warranties, which kept the staff thin, while maintaining peak efficiency. Read more...
KEPHART project takes top honor at NAHB's Pillars of the Industry
October 17, 2013 — Congratulations to KEPHART community :: planning :: architecture, which was awarded top honors at NAHB's Multifamily Council at the Pillars Industry Awards for Multifamily Community of the Year at NAHB's Multifamily Council at the Pillars Industry Awards October 3. KEPHART, along with building owner UDI and developer Peak West Development, won the award for its Marina del Ray, CA project, The Westerly on the Lincoln. Along with that prestigious award, The Westerly on the Lincoln was named Best Conversion/Repositioning of a Multifamily Asset.
"The Westerly was full of opportunities for improving lifestyle and creating a signature community," said John Binder, AIA, KEPHART architect. "With the input of a thoughtful client, we developed a cost-effective design that focused on making an impact for future residents and improving quality of life for current residents. Most gratifying for us in repositioning this community was seeing the before, envisioning what it could be and then experiencing the transformation." View the complete presentation and view judges' comments.
Boulder Creek Neighborhoods to double housing starts by year end
October 15, 2013 — There's a lot of doubling under foot at Boulder Creek Neighborhoods. First, the energy-efficient homebuilder will more than double staff by year's end. Second, the Denver Business Journal reported, David Sinkey, co-owner and president, hopes to double last year's housing starts to 150 this year. And he more than doubled revenue in three years, from $11 million in 2009 to $29.4 million last year — a whopping 168% increase — and landing the 7-year-old firm on the 2013 Inc. list of fastest-growing U.S. companies.
Sinkey credits his growth to his "sense of fearlessness about trying new things," according to the DBJ. After all, it was part of his upbringing by his father and well-respected Boulder homebuilder Barry Sinkey, who owned Cessna Associates Ltd. He also expanded his business during the downturn, and took a page or two from marketing expert Seth Godin to develop a more strategic, innovative marketing plan that sells homes. Read more...
Faster electronic recording, online records coming to Denver
October 8, 2013 — A new state-of-the-art recording system will be implemented in January by the Denver County Clerk & Recorder's office that will offer more options for electronically recording documents and faster turnaround times with Denver County.
Denver's huge repository of recorded documents will be made available for public access online then, as well. Initially, the on-line repository will consist of 7 million documents from 1970 to now. Most of those documents are related to land transactions. Eventually, the site will make available all records dated to 1859.
The new system will let you search and access Denver's repository of recorded documents through the Clerk & Recorder's website and will accept credit/debit card payment or escrow accounts for copies.
The Clerk & Recorder Communication Office is offering document search training on the system throughout its November and December testing period. If your office wants a presentation on the new system or if you want to test it out, please call the Clerk & Recorder Communications Office, 720-865-4872.
Metrostudy Report: Housing recovery still going strong
October 7, 2013 — Despite reports to the contrary, rising interest rates aren't thwarting the housing recovery. That's according to the October Metrostudy newsletter, which reported that new home sales nationwide were up 7.9% in August over July. And, it appears, the only folks surprised about those numbers were the analysts themselves. The only declines observed are typical seasonal declines homebuilders see at this time every year.
In fact, Metrostudy reports that new subdivision traffic continues to stay above last year and that average traffic across subdivisions reached its highest level in 18 months the week of August 18. And its most-recent September data showed average contracts up 12% and average traffic up 10% over 2012.
Some areas showed much greater growth than the national numbers reported. For example, with a 78% increase, the Boulder area rounded out the top five cities with month-over-month growth in contracts for August. "The housing recovery is alive and well," said Jonathan Smoke with Metrostudy. "Life drives demand for housing, not the Fed." Read more...
Pulled permits up more than 41% over last year
October 1, 2013 — Through August, all permit activity rose 41.7 percent over the first eight months in 2012, according to Inside Real Estate News. Homebuilders pulled 4,730 single family home permits through August, a 28.2 percent increase over the 3.689 permits pulled through August last year. Townhome permits rose to 818, a 42.3 percent increase over the 575 townhome permits pulled through August last year. Apartment permits were up 64 percent over last year.
While a recent projection called for 7,500 new homes to be delivered this year, it's expected that by year's end, 6,500 will be delivered, largely due to the lack of finished lots and raw materials, noted S. Robert August, president of North Star Synergies, Inc. With the recent flooding, August expects homebuilders to do their best to build new homes, the pressure of homeowners in flood-ravaged areas to exacerbate the problem. Read more...
Case-Shiller Report: Denver home prices gain again in July
September 24, 2013 — For the fourth month in a row, the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices reported that all 20 cities it tracks posted gains in July. Nationally, year-over-year gains in home prices were up 1.9% and 1.8% from June in the 10-city and 20-city composites. And 12-month prices were up overall 12.3% and 12.4% for the 10-city and 20-city composites, respectively. As of July, Case-Shiller reported, average home prices have returned to their Spring 2004 levels.
Locally, the Denver area market was up 1.6% in July over June, with a 12-month change of 9.7%, and an index of 145.63. The report noted that although home prices in all the cities it tracks were up in July, Denver was one of the 15 cities that saw deceleration in July versus June.
David M. Blitzer, chair of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said, "Since April 2013, all 20 cities are up month to month. However, the monthly rates of price gains have declined. More cities are experiencing slow gains each month from the previous month, suggesting that the rate of increase may have peaked." Read more...
Disaster recovery resources for homeowners
September 24, 2013 — With estimates approaching $2 billion to rebuild communities that were demolished by the 500-year flood two weeks ago, the HBA is offering resources to help homeowners rebuild their lives. For those whose homes were damaged, NAHB offers a step-by-step plan for assessing home safety and cleaning up after a flood.
The scammers have already begun to descend on the flood-ravaged areas; some are already promising the moon. As homeowners are just beginning to pick up the pieces of their lives, it's tough to tell who's legitimate and who's not. NAHB's 'How to spot a contractor scam' helps weed the good from the bad.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency helps homeowners pick up the pieces after a flood, which includes suggestions on maintaining health and step-by-step actions to take on the home itself. Another FEMA link listsdisasters and help the agency can offer to mitigate them.
The Red Cross is often one of the first responders in any disaster. The agency has published an e-book, as a PDF, on how to repair your home after a flood.
We will continue to post resources for homeowners; if you have suggestions or resources to post here, please contact Kim Jackson.
Markel Homes donates $10,000 for flood relief
September 24, 2013 — Boulder-based Markel Homes has donated $10,000 to Donate Boulder — Community Organized Flood Relief, which has been overseeing local flood relief efforts. It's also been coordinating the Boulder Mudslingers, a group of more than 100 volunteers who have been helping flood victims with their cleanup efforts.
While Markel Homes' projects survived the flood, President Michael Markel offered his condolences to those who have completely lost their homes or have massive work to do before they can return to their homes. He noted that employees are volunteering in the communities and helping with the recovery process. "The rebuilding is under way," he said.
HBA honors its best at '13 MAME Awards
September 23, 2013 — The HBA of Metro Denver's Sales & Marketing Council hosted its MAME Award celebration at the DCPA's Seawell Ballroom September 14 to honor the industry's best — and celebrate the homebuilding industry's continued recovery. In its 34th year, more than 400 industry professionals attended the Marketing and Merchandising Excellence awards ceremony.
"We had more than 200 entries, 150 finalists and 50+ winners who introduced new and innovative product, with attention to sustainable, energy efficient, trend-setting new home product," observed MAME Chair and Marketing & Sales Director for Duet Design Group Beth Chatterson. "This year, we also recognized the construction personnel who work behind the scenes to build the wonderful array of housing product throughout metro Denver."
Three industry leaders were presented with the lifetime achievement Legend awards for their ongoing support of and commitment to the HBA:
Marketing & Sales – S. Robert August, NorthStar Synergies
Interior Design — Hillary Reed, Hillary Reed Interiors
Architecture — Mike Kephart, Kephart
"Everyone who attended the MAME celebration witnessed the best of land planning, architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, advertising, public relations, promotion and sales from the industry's finest professionals," noted Chair of the Sales & Marketing Council and President of Trio Environments Angela Harris. "What a privilege to honor so manye exceptional individuals from so many excellent companies."
Jeff Whiton, executive vice president for the HBA said, "The fantastic turnout and enthusiasm shared by our members and guests are invigorating signs that the housing industry is recoverying."
Congrats to MAME award winners!
September 18, 2013 — Congratulations to the 2013 MAME award winners! What a great night we had, and thank you for attending the celebration.
To our sponsors: Thank you! We just couldn't have done it without you. And many thanks to Trusted Photographer, for photos from the event.
If you want a duplicate award, please visit the MAME site to download the form. Additional awards can be customized for each team member or partner. Also visit the site to download the MAME winners icon for your use in promotional materials.
You can also enter the Nationals; just download and fill out the form by October 25, 2013.
Watch for media coverage with our media partners in the coming weeks. The Denver Post Real Estate section will have a full-page listing of the winners, along with a few highlights. Denver Life and Colorado Urban Home magazines will also cover the awards. We are so grateful for the support of our media partners!
Again, congratulations to everyone and we'll see you in 2014!
John D. Wood, Jr., Wood Brothers Homes cofounder, passes away
September 17, 2013 — John D. Wood, Jr. died Friday, September 13, at the age of 89. He cofounded Wood Brothers Homes in 1950 and served as president of the HBA in the late '60s. In 1972, he sold the company to City Investments, then moved to Alaska, where in 1979, he cofounded Homesteaders Lumber in Big Lake.
Wood is survived by daughters Erma Rupp, Barbara Nord, Debra Bignell, Janet Yadon and Vicki Stults, as well as 14 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.
His funeral will take place Saturday, September 21, 2:30 p.m., at the Delta Christian Church, 795 1600 Road in Delta.
Home Builders Foundation's Blitz Build finishes 13 ramps
September 16, 2013 —More than 100 industry volunteers built 13 free ramps during the Home Builders Foundation of Metro Denver's third annual Blitz Build. The three-day ramp-building marathon throughout the metro Denver area for disabled homeowners took place August 22-24.
DBJ ranks area homebuilders
September 16, 2013 — Each week, the Denver Business Journal ranks companies within an industry. This week, it's homebuilders. Ranked by dollar volume of homes built in the metro area last year, Richmond American Homes topped the list, with $270 million reported. Lennar was ranked second, with $117 million in volume, followed by DR. Horton ($103 million) and Meritage Homes ($96.8 million). Read more...
Metrostudy report: Be careful on the hairpin turn
September 13, 2013 — Metrostudy's September report compares the housing market to a Formula One race track, where 2012/2013 represented the straightaway, and we're about to hit the first hairpin turn: Overconfidence. According to Metrotudy, careful, precise maneuvering will be key to winning the race, particularly when buying land and lots. With new home prices increasing anywhere from ten to 25 percent nationwide, home price escalation for 2014 is expected to drop to six percent. The recommendation? "Don't buy land if it 'pencils' ONLY with a continuing accelerating rate of price escalation." Read more...
Fed expects continued growth in Colorado-area construction
September 4, 2013 — The Federal Reserve Board reported that the economy moderately expanded in July and August in Colorado and its neighboring states, and expects the region to grow through the fall. In the tenth district, which includes Colorado, residential real estate markets "continued to strengthen, with an upswing in construction and a rise in sales," reported the Fed in its eight-times-a-year Beige book — which is more commonly known as the Summary of Content on Current Economic Conditions.
Specifically, the Fed observed that consumer spending increased in July and August. Similarly, home starts rose and lot prices are expected to increase as supply of available sites tightens. Sales of construction supplies rose and saw a shortage of some building materials, such as drywall and roofing shingles. The Fed also reported that some builders were concerned that the shortage of skilled labor could constraing growth. Read more...
Metro-area townhouse construction up nearly 80%
August 29, 2013 — In the first seven months of the year, metro-area townhouse construction was up 77.8%, according to Inside Real Estate News. This gain represents a nearly 35% increase over permits issued for single family homes in the same timeframe — and 17.5% of the entire for-sale market. Through July, the eight-county area served by the HBA reported 868 permits pulled, compared with 488 last year.
Of that, 388 townhome permits were pulled in Denver, mostly in the Stapleton community. While most townhome activity is taking place south of I-70, New Town Builders President Gene Myers plans to pull permits in the next couple weeks at Stapleton Conservatory Green, north of the interstate.
Thanks to pent up demand by young professionals who've waited longer than normal to buy their first homes, Myers said, "This year will probably be the first in our history that we will have delivered more townhomes than single family homes." Read more...
Case-Shiller Report: Home prices continued climb in June; Denver sets record
August 28, 2013 — The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report showed that prices continued to rise nationwide. The National Index grew 7.1% in the second quarter and 10.1% over the previous year. Denver was one of two (Dallas was the other) MSAs that reached all-time highs of $140.28, a 1.7% gain in June. Overall, Denver was up 19.3% in June from its trough in February 2009 of 120.21.
David M. Blitzer, chair of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said that while nationally, prices are up more than 10 percent, they're beginning to moderate. Yet, "despite recent increases in mortgage interest rates, affordability is still good as credit qualifications have eased somewhat." Read more...
Brookfield Residential unveils Colorado's first 'Passive House'
August 22, 2013 — Brookfield Residential made Colorado history by gaining official 'Passive House' certification on a home in the Midtown at Clear Creek development near 68th & Pecos — the site of the Parade of Homes' Industry night two weeks ago. It's expected that the owners of the home will spend less than $80 a month on utilities.
Fewer than 60 homes nationwide have received this certification from the Passive House Institute U.S., and this may be the first in the nation to be to built by a production homebuilder. A certified Passive House has to meet three strict standards of performance in terms of:
• Air exchange - two way, inside to outside (cannot exceed .6 of every room/hour)
• Energy usage - basic electricity (cannot exceed 11.1kw/sq ft annually)
• Btu consumption - applies to heating and cooling (cannot exceed 4,750 sq ft annually)
"When we embarked on this project, we saw it as an opportunity to experiment in technologies that will improve production homes' comfort, efficiency and durability," said Brookfield Residential General Manager Perry Cadman. "We're committed to an evolution of residential housing, with an unwavering search for changes that will result in improvements, and ultimately, perfection in residential building. The Passive House is the best example of this commitment and vision."
Located at 1787 W. 67th Ave., the Brookfield Residential Passive House uses its creatively designed outer walls, a tight thermal envelope that uses the latest scientific techniques, high-performing windows and the most-modern HVAC system available to achieve a HERS score of 27. More info...
Metrostudy's mid-year MPC report: Stapleton starts nearly 50% more houses; Highlands Ranch moves up in rankings
August 21, 2013 — Midway through the year, Forest City Development's master-planned community, Stapleton, was ranked 11th in Metrostudy's top Master Planned Community report, with a 44.6% increase in housing starts over the first half of 2012.
Shea Homes' Highlands Ranch moved up four notches in Metrostudy's lot-by-lot survey, through a 31.5% growth over the same period last year. That improvement moved the community, which was previously ranked 20, up to 16.
Metrostudy's Tom Hayden noted that Highlands Ranch was 15% from buildout through the end of the second quarter, and the community was one of two that made the list for the Denver-based developer. Shea's community in Central Valley, CA, Mountain House, gained an 83.5% increase in starts through the second quarter, over the same period last year. Read more...
Homebuilder confidence gains in August
August 15, 2013 — Single family homebuilder confidence in August rose three points to 59 nationwide, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. August reflects the fourth monthly gain and reflects the highest level the index has reported in eight years. The HMI's three-month moving average for the West region was up six points, to 57.
NAHB Chair Rick Judman said, "Builders are seeing more motivated buyers walk through their doors than they have in quite some time. Firming home prices and thinning inventories of homes for sale are contributing to a continued sense of urgency among those who are in the market."
"Builder confidence continues to strengthen, along with rising demand for a limited supply of new and existing homes in most local markets," observed David Crowe, NAHB chief economist. "However, this positive momentum is being slowed by the ongoing headwinds of tight credit and low supplies of finished lots and labor."
The NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI is the product of NAHB Economics and is not seen or influenced by any outside party before being released to the public. Read more on housing statistics or check out the HMI tables.
Local media kicks off Parade of Homes
August 8, 2013 — 9News kicked off its Parade of Homes coverage by touring Parkwood Homes' entry in the Conservatory Green at Stapleton neighborhood. The video clip shows the unusually large back yard (standard with these homes), which reflects the farm-to-table movement with apple and pear trees along the back fence. Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are planted, as well. There's an already-productive garden and even a chicken coop. Watch the video...
August 8, 2013 — With 71 new homes in the Parade this year, there's sure to be something for every lookie-loo, as The Denver Post's Susan Clotfelter described folks who want to see how homes can work with our lifestyles. Rather than tripping over one another in an awkward kitchen or living with a blah paint pallette, the Parade of Homes is one way to cure those what's-not-working-for-us blues and see what the latest is in new home design, appliances, paint — well, okay, everything. From Loveland to Castle Rock, Central City to Aurora, and with prices that range from under $250,000 to more than $1 million, The Denver Post highlighted what to expect from the Parade. Read more...
August 6, 2013 — The Denver Business Journal was the first to announce the 2013 Parade of Homes opening, which features more than 70 homes this year. The weekly newsmagazine quoted Parade Chair Cortney Ridens and cited last year's statistics. It even included a link to the Parade site. Read more...
Sterling Ranch names MDC lead homebuilder
July 31, 2013 — After a year-long legal delay, Sterling Ranch Development, LLC selected MDC Holdings as its lead single family homebuilder for its 12,500-home Sterling Ranch community in Douglas County, according to the Denver Business Journal.
MDC Holdings — which does business as Richmond American Homes in Colorado — is expected to develop more than 5,000 single family homes and sites on the 3,400-acre ranch in the Chatfield Valley.
Sterling Ranch selected MDC because the national homebuilder is Colorado based, a quality builder and is big enough to handle the multiyear commitment.
John Rebchook, with Inside Real Estate News, reported that when completed, 31,000 people will live in the $4.3 billion community that's just south of Chatfield Reservoir and east of Roxborough State Park. The homes MDC builds there are expected to lead the nation in water conservation. Read more...
Easter Seals' kitchen gets remodeled — in time for summer camp
August 1, 2013 — Rocky Mountain Village's kitchen needed a facelift. On top of that, the Easter Seals of Colorado handicap accessible camp in Empire needed to be able to cater to the special dietary needs of kids — and adults —who stay at the camp.
So they turned to Dave Jackson, CAPS, a long-time friend of the organization — and a remodeler. The owner of Jackson Design Build did a complete kitchen overhaul for Easter Seals, with all new appliances, flooring, finishes, sanitation equipment and lighting. He even resurfaced the dining hall floor.
After nine months of planning, the remodeler was finished in under six weeks, and in time for summer camp. Jackson said, "The big gain was they were able to serve special dietary needs in another line. It was way past due."
He's also active in the Home Builders Foundation, which is how he met the Easter Seals folks. A few years ago, Jackson spearheaded building a 27-bed facility for the non-profit organization, which was funded by the Home Builders Foundation. "We weren't able to donate everything, but we were able to get a lot of work done for them at very discounted prices," he noted.
Jackson has been in the homebuilding industry for more than 30 years and in business since 1997. He works on larger projects that other contractors "tend to pass on because they're too difficult," he said. "Like the Easter Seals camp. We're doing a remodel on a castle in town. Crazy, the things that aren't typical run of the mill."
Denver home prices break records
July 30, 2013 — In May, Denver's home prices reached 140.98 an all-time high, according to The S&P / Case-Shiller report released this morning. Overall, its 20-city composite showed a 2.5% increase in May over April. Denver was one of two cities (Dallas was the other) that reached a new record. And Denver is one of ten cities that showed acceleration.
Nationwide, average home prices in May were back to their Spring 2004 levels and the 20-city composite posted an annual increase of 12.2%. Denver's all-time high in May surpassed the financial peaks set in June 2007 and August 2006. Denver showed a 2% improvement over April, with a one-year change of 9.7%.
Chair of the Index Committee at S&P Down Jones Indices David Blitzer said, "Home prices continue to strengthen. Two cities set new highs, surpassing their pre-crisis levels, and five cities posted monthly gains over over 3%, also a first-time event." Read more...
DBJ names Oakwood Homes a 'healthiest employer'
July 29, 2013 — Congratulations to Oakwood Homes as one of Denver's healthiest employers! In the Denver Business Journal's third Metro Denver Healthiest Employer competition, Oakwood Homes was awarded the second-place winner in the Medium Company category. Five years ago, the homebuilder began encouraging staffers to log exercise hours to win 'Oakwood bucks.' After adding up those bucks, employees could cash them in for all kinds of things. Now, employees can reduce health insurance costs and team challenges mean even bigger prizes — including a suite at a Denver Broncos game. Qualifying for healthiest employer was a rigorous process, but it means healthier (and more productive) Oakwood Homes employees. Read more...
Denver metro homebuilding permits up 37%
July 26, 2013 — Homebuilders pulled 3,423 single family permits throughout the Denver metro area through June, according to Inside Real Estate News. That's a healthy 36.65 percent above last year's 2,505 for the same six-month period. And multifamily permits (mostly townhomes) were up nearly 43 percent, with 567 permits issued, compared to last year's 397. In the eight-county region, most of the permits were pulled in Aurora, followed by 422 in Castle Rock. Denver, however, was down 8.2 percent from last year, with 359 permits pulled. Read more...
With 3,423 single family home building permits pulled in the first six months of the year,
New trend: Toll Brothers puts fully furnished model home on market
July 24, 2013 — Mirroring how hot the market is for high-end homes, Toll Brothers recently put its Valmont model home, fully furnished, on the market in its Estates at Pine Bluffs community in Parker. Inside Real Estate News reported that the 6,000 sq ft home with a finished walkout basement is priced just under $900,000. And Toll Brothers put it on the market because the community is nearly sold out. As demand continues to pressure homebuilders for more high-end homes, it's expected that putting fully furnished models on the market is becoming new trend. Read more...
Remembering long-time HBA member, Tony Rechlitz III
July 15, 2013 — We regret to inform you that our colleague and friend, Anthony J. 'Tony' Rechlitz, 61, unexpectly passed away on July 14. Tony's funeral will take place Saturday, July 20 at 10 a.m. at Holy Lutheran Church, 4210 S. Chambers Rd in Aurora.
"This is indeed sad news I must pass along," said Jeff Whiton, CEO & EVP of the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver. "Tony was a dear friend and associate, beginning his legal career with Witkin Homes (US Homes) in 1979. His contributions and support to the industry were immensely highlighted by his dedicated involvement in the Home Builders Foundation. His spirit of friendship, charity and good counsel remains with us. It has been a privilege to know him."
In addition to being a long-time member of the Denver HBA, Tony was also a founding member of HomeAid Colorado. Executive Director Laura Brayman said, "Tony was a founding board member for HomeAid Colorado. He served ten years and was instrumental in crafting our charter and license agreement as a state chapter with HomeAid America. He wrote our bylaws and did all the legal work on HomeAid's behalf, pro bono. Most of all, Tony was incredibly kind and generous."
Tony was a graduate of Colorado State University and earned his law degree from the University of Colorado. He was a beloved husband to his wife Greer, and father to his two children. As an attorney focused on real estate matters, Tony provided counsel to many homebuilders and developers in Colorado.
Tony's family has requested contributions to the American Diabetes Associaiton in lieu of flowers. Tony was gentle and kind, was always a professional and will be greatly missed by those of us who knew and loved him.
Kristen White named new Oakwood Homes president
July 15, 2013 — The largest privately owned, Denver-based homebuilder, Oakwood Homes, named Kristen White its new president, repored Inside Real Estate News. White, who started as a sales counselor in 1997, was named Sales & Marketing director ten years later, and now, president. Former president Pat Hamill will continue to serve as the company's chair and CEO. White helped guide Oakwood Homes through the Great Recession and has led the company growth to the top locally owned homebuilder in Denver, as well as expanding into the Omaha market. Read more...
Doug Walters, AIA, presented at national AIA convention
July 12, 2013 — HBA member Doug Walters, AIA, presented a seminar at the American Institute of Architects' national convention in Denver in June. With more than 15,000 architects from around the world at the Convention Center, Walters co-presented Sympathetic Additions to Historic Buildings. Walters, whose career has primarily been spent in residential architecture, served as an historic architect for the National Park Service when with his own firm, before recently joining Godden | Suddick Architects. Read more...
Mark Markel: "Big bounce back is a real pleasant surprise"
July 1, 2013 — In a story reported by the Erie Colorado Hometown Weekly on Boulder county's booming housing market — where it was reported that some homes in the city of Boulder itself have had multiple offers within hours of listing them — Mark Markel was interviewed for the new homebuilder perspective. The owner of 40-year-old Markel Homes observed that the 350-home North End development in Louisville was expected to be built out by next year or 2015. That was before the recession, which slowed buildout of the 217-home first phase.
Now, though, Markel feels the market is strong enough and is launching its 143-home Phase II — of which 80 will be single family homes. With prices ranging from the low $400s - $600s, "that's where we're dialed in, at the moment," he said. Read more...
Brookfield Homes leads charge on passive homes
June 27, 2013 — Brookfield Homes unveiled its first passive house in Midtown at Clear Creek to the public today. When done in five weeks, Brookfield expects that this will be the first certified passive house in Colorado. It's a work — and education — in progress, noted General Manager, Perry Cadman. To become certified by the International Passive House Association, a passive house has to meet three criteria:
1. Air exchange. The house must be tight. The air exchange on this house will be .60/hour when it's done.
2. Low Btu consumption. At less than 4,755 Btu/sq ft annually, Btu consumption on this house will be ten times less than the average house.
3. Energy use. The home is expected to use less than 11.1 kwh/sq ft annually. "To heat this house is equal to a 1600-watt blow dryer," Cadman said. Without the solar shingles on the house, annual energy costs are expected to run $1,100 a year. With the solar shingles, that's expected to drop to $800 a year. The projected HERS score is about 29, before the solar.
Brookfield Homes will put the 2,421 sq ft house on the market within the next three weeks, and it will be sold with a deferred closing date. "We want the public and schools to see the house," Cadman said.
And while all the extras on the house (insulation, high-performance windows and doors, water-to-air heating system, tankless water heater and solar shingles) add $90,000 in costs, the nearly $500,000 asking price is not much more than the community's average sale of $440,000 - $460,000. Read more...
Case / Shiller: Denver home prices rise nearly 2%
June 25, 2013 — Denver home prices continued their upward climb in April, posting a 1.8% gain in home prices from March, according to the S&P / Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, released today. This is the 16th month in a row that home prices rose in the Denver MSA and year over year, prices were up 9.9%. In his blog, David Blitzer, Chair of the Index Committee for the S&P Dow Jones Indices, said that although Denver (and Dallas) "experienced modest peaks compared to bubble cities like Miami and Phoenix, it is Denver and Dallas that are within shouting distance from their all-time highs." Read more...
Markel Homes celebrates 40 years with Phase II lots in Louisville's North End
June 25, 2013 — Markel Homes is releasing the first of 26 presale lots in Louisville's North End neighborhood. Just outside historic downtown Louisville, the two and three bedroom, open-plan homes will be Energy Star® 3.0 certified and feature the 40-year-old homebuilder's characteristic blend of contemporary and traditional architecture. Furnished models will be available this fall, and the builder is taking orders now for semicustom homes with Front Range views.
Brookfield Homes builds state's first passive home
June 24, 2013 — Just when you thought homes couldn't be built any tighter, Brookfield Homes expects to finish Colorado's first certified passive home in time for the Parade of Homes' Industry Night in August. According to Inside Real Estate News, The home — in Brookfield's 184-acre Midtown at Clear Creek community, at Pecos and West 67th Ave. — is expected to use 90 percent less energy than a typical new home. Designed by KGA Studio Architects, the two-story, nearly 3,500 sq ft home (including basement) is expected to be priced just under $500,000. Read more...