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Brookfield Residential begins building in Solterra

April 18, 2014 — Brookfield Residential opened a temporary office in the clubhouse of the Lakewood community, Solterra, the site of the HBA's Parade of Homes Industry night in 2012. Using the same building practices and energy efficient technologies as it did in Brookfield's Midtown at Clear Creek neighborhood last year (the site of last year's Parade Industry night), the homebuilder expects to have homes ready for families by the fall. 

One of Brookfield Homes' hallmarks is the building science used to build certified energy efficient scores — HERS — that supercede that of homes built to code. As such, Perry Cadman, Brookfield's general manager, said, "We believe these homes will inject an element into the Jefferson County market that buyers have never seen before. Homebuyers in that area now have an option for significant energy efficiency at a price and value previously unimagined."

Homes in Solterra start at $449,800, and Brookfield has six floor plans that range from 1,787 and 2,158 sq ft. Read more...

Markel Homes opens sales office in newly finished model home

April 17, 2014 — Just in time for its open house April 26 -27, Markel Homes has opened a sales office in the recently finished model home in Louisville's North End Phase II. This expansion of the North End development is just east of the intersection of CO Highway 42 and 95th St. and north of South Boulder Road near Hecla Lake Open Space.

The EnergyStar® 3.0-certified green homebuilder also is building two net-zero homes next to its model home / sales office, and offers net-zero upgrades on any of the homes it builds, as well. Through solar power and other innovative features, the total amount of energy the home uses each year roughly equals the amount of energy it creates.

At North End Phase II, Markel features more than a dozen single family home plans in traditional, contemporary and newest designs at the site. Sales are going well there; several of the initial lots already have been sold.

The new home / sales office, Markel's Cascade model, will be part of the Flatirons Tour of Homes May 3-4 and May 10-11. Read more...

 

New home building activity up 8 percent

April 11, 2014 — The HBA reports that new home building activity for the first two months of the year rose 8 percent in the Denver metro area, according to Inside Real Estate News.In January and February, 1,078 permits were issued, compared with 996 for the same time period last year. In February, 588 permits were pulled, up 11.82 percent from last February.

And townhome building was on the rise; 215 permits were issued in the first two months, compared with 177 last year. In February alone, permits pulled were 42.6 percent higher than that of a year ago. Jeff Whiton, president & CEO, observed that the appetite is increasing for townhomes, particularly in central Denver communities where land is available. "Builders like New Town Builders and KB Home are having great success with infill townhomes," Whiton said.

And while abysmally small — and we all know why — 24 condo permits were issued in the first two months, up from 16 during the same period last year. 

Whiton expects the new home permit numbers to continue increasing through the summer and help fill the vacuum created by the shortage of resale homes in the market. Read more... 

osmosis architecture wins Special Award of Excellence

April 3, 2014 — osmosis architecture received a Special Award of Excellence at the 2014 Nationals for its work with HomeAid Colorado on the Clermont Commons project. Since 2010, osmosis architecture has been working with HomeAid Colorado and the Volunteers of America to complete the three homes in the project to serve homeless female veterans.

The first home was built by Wonderland Homes, New Town Builders built the second home and Berkeley Homes built the third home. These three homes marked HomeAid's 41st, 42nd and 43rd projects — and the fifth project osmosis architecture designed.

Four more builders join '14 Parade of Homes

April 1, 2014 — Brookfield Residential, Celebrity Homes, Lennar Homes and McStain Neighborhoods will showcase their homes at the 2014 Parade of Homes. Last year, more than 100,000 people Paraded through 71 homes in 18 cities throughout metro Denver.

The Parade of Homes will be open to the public August 7 - September 1 (Labor Day), and anticipates showing more than 70 never-lived-in homes from Aurora to Central City, and Loveland to Castle Rock.

Cortney Ridens, 2014 Parade chair and regional marketing director for Meritage Homes, said, "This year's Parade is shaping up to be another exciting of gret new homes to see. It's a great opportunity to get a sneak peek at what's new in homebuilding, explore new neighborhoods and get decorating ideas for homeowners' current homes — or the ones they plan to buy."

Brookfield Residential entered the Denver market in 1997; it has created three master-planned communities and two new communities in the Denver metro area. The 50-year-old award-winning developer of luxury custom and semicustom homes in Pradera and Heritage Hills Celebrity Homes only builds 18-20 homes a year. Lennar Homes builds affordable, move-up and retirement homes that cater to almost any lifestyle. Headquartered in Florida, the homebuilder builds in 18 states; in Colorado, Lennar is building in ten metro-area communities. And Colorad-based McStain Neighborhood buildssustainable homes in four neighborhood communities ranging from Lafayette to Curtis Park and Longmont.

Case Shiller: Home price gains slow nationally, stay flat in Denver

March 28, 2014 — The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices — the leading measure of U.S. home prices — showed that in January, home pricing gains rose .3 percent nationwide over January 2013. And while 12 cities in the 20-city composite weakened, Denver gained .8 percent in January from December.

Again, the weather seems to have played a part in the nationwide trend. David Blitzer, chair of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said, "The housing recovery may have taken a breather, due to the cold weather." The numbers seem to reflect that sentiment, too, as Blitzer observed, "The sun belt showed the five highest monthly returns."

In January, Denver's level rose to 146.21, which caught Blitzer's attention. "Denver and Dallas are the only cities to have reached new record peaks."

While Blitzer observed that most analysts don't expect the same rapid increases that we saw last year, "expectations and recent data point to home price gains in 2014." What's more, "existing home sales declined slightly in February and are at their lowest level since July 2012," he said. Read more on Vallagio...  Read more on KTGY...

New member benefit: Ship UPS and save up to 36%

March 26, 2014 — Thanks to a contract the NAHB has negotiated, the HBA has a new shipping provider: UPS. And whether packages are picked up or dropped off, members can save up to 36 percent on shipping. Along with smaller-sized packages — up to 150 pounds — members can take advantage of 70 to 84 percent savings on freight and LTL shipments.

To get started, call 800-MEMBERS (800-636-2377) from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Eastern time; Dee Mubaiwa is our Marketing Manager for this program. Or just visit the dedicated NAHB-UPS site. Either way, sign up and start saving today.

Four homebuilders are first to join '14 Parade of Homes

March 24, 2014 — DR Horton, Meritage Homes, Taylor Morrison and Tri Pointe Homes are the first homebuilders to sign up for the 2014 Parade of Homes. The 2014 Parade of Homes expects to showcase more than 70 newly built homes throughout metro Denver August 7 - September 1.

More than 100,000 people visited 71 homes in 18 cities throughout the Front Range at last year's Parade. Cortney Ridens, 2014 Parade chair and regional marketing director for Meritage Homes, said, "We are really excited about what this year's Parade will offer the public. It will be a great opportunity to see what's new in home building, explore new neighborhoods and get decorating ideas."

The country's biggest homebuilder, DR Horton builds in Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins and northern Colorado. Meritage Homes is one of the nation's top 10 homebuilders. Meritage builds in 13 Colorado communities, including Arvada, Aurora, Brighton, Castle Rock, Erie, Lafayette, Longmont, Parker and Thornton. Taylor Morrison builds in Arvada, Broomfield, Castle Pines, Castle Rock and Golden. Tri Point Homes builds in Arvada, Castle Rock, Denver and Loveland.

HBA members win big at IBS

March 19, 2014 — The Metro Denver HBA congratulates all our builder, remodeler, architect, designer and associate member winners last month at the 2014 International Builders Show in Las Vegas. Our members were nationally recognized as winners in various award categories for their outstanding achievements.

The Denver Sales & Marketing Council was honored with the Gold Award at The Nationals, and was recognized as the 2014 National Sales and Marketing Council of the Year. The SMC did an outstanding job of rebuilding the council by identifying core values and responsibilities of the council, and using those qualities to rebuild this core group. Along with focusing on education, networking and recognition, the SMC now has more than 200 members and raised more than $50,000 in sponsorship revenue — all while providing members with 15 educational programs.

The Nationals pays tribute to superior sales and marketing achievements, recognized many Colorado companies:

Gold, Best AdShea Homes and Miles BrandDNA for Backcountry.

Best Print Campaign, Ad Series  — Candelas and developer Terra Causa Capital LLC/GF Properties Group.

Best Website for an Associate or SupplierDuet Design Group

Best Architectural Design of an Attached Home Plan — Ryland Homes - Denver and KGA Studio Architects

The Best in American Living Awards (BALA) spotlight the most creative and innovative projects in the nation. BALA winners redefine excellence for the residential building industry, as well as identify up-and-coming consumer trends. The awards program recognizes builders, remodelers, architects, designers, developers, land planners and interior designers nationwide.

Platinum Award, Detached home up to 2000 sq ft Home Built For Sale – Brookfield Homes for Midtown. Project team includes architect, DTJ Design; Interior designer, Linda Beutner Interior Design; Developer, Brookfield Residential and Land Planner, Norris Design

Gold Award, Best Green-Built HomeBrookfield Homes, Residence 8. The project team includes KGA Studio Architects; Interior Designer, Linda Beutner Interior Design; Developer, Brookfield Residential and Land Planner, Norris Design.

The Best of Housing 50+ Awards honors excellence in housing for the mature market. The 2014 awards included several Colorado builders. 

Best 50+ Detached Home, over 2,100 sq ftBoulder Creek Neighborhoods, The Spirit Patio Home. The project team includes KGA Studio Architects and the Jones Design Group for interior design.

What's more, the NAHB Green Awards, which honors excellence in green building, recognized several architects and builders in our local market:

Silver, Project of the Year, Single Family — Brookfield Homes and KGA Studio Architects 

Congrats to you all; we're very proud of what you have accomplished!

 

Condo nation? Not in Denver

March 13, 2014 — Inside Real Estate News got it right: "Consumers want them. Politicians want them. And developers want to build them." But thanks to fears of construction defects litigation — and it's no big news to the industry — condos aren't being built in Colorado.

There's been some pressure to change how construction defects suits can be filed at the state legislature this session. And metro mayors and economic development councils have gotten involved this year. Yet, as John Rebchook said in his Inside Real Estate News column, the Metro Denver HBA reported that only 125 condo permits were issued in the metro area last year. And that's ranging from Boulder to Castle Rock. Compare that with the 2,040 permits pulled in 2007, and it's easy to see that there's trouble -- right here in River City, as the Music Man said. In fact, the Brookings Institution recently observed that adding condos near light rail stations is an important component of transit oriented developments. Read more...

Business is beginning to make noise about the lack of affordable housing, too. The Denver Business Journal reported this week that the metro area is feeling the pain of record-high rent, coupled with few apartment vacancies. That combination is causing CEOs to ask bankers and EDCs where the people they attract from around the country will live. Denver's light rail and the anticipated air train to makes it even more attractive for companies to relocate or expand in the metro area -- if there's affordable housing available for their employees. The pressure's on for condo development at the state legislature. This time, though, other stakeholders are leading the charge. Read more...

 

Denver is priciest inland city for buying a home

March 10, 2014 — It's official. Denver is the nation's priciest inland city to buy a home, according to The Denver Business Journal and HSH.com, a mortgage information website.

HSH.com used the National Association of Realtors' fourth-quarter data on media home prices and overlaid its fourth-quarter average interest rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage to arrive at a the median salary needed to cover the base cost — just principal and interest — of owning a home in 25 of the country's biggest metro areas.

It's findings? Denver was ranked as the 19th most affordable city in the study, sandwiched between Portland and Seattle — and is the nation's most expensive inland city to buy a median-priced home. The study showed that it requires an annual salary of $48,122 to afford a median-priced home of $279,300 in Denver, using a mortgage rate of 4.43 percent. 

The study's nearest big city to Denver was Chicago, where an average salary of $32,388.90 can afford a median-priced home of $187,100, using a mortgage interest rate of 4.47 percent.

HSH.com noted that the Denver housing market has been noted for its consistency, where our prices didn't rise too high or fall too hard — and that our salary requirements actually dropped by $2,500 the last quarter of 2013. Read more...  

 

New home permits in January slightly up from a year ago

March 5, 2014 — Metro Denver area homebuilders pulled 520 permits in January, up from the 497 that were pulled in January 2013, according to the Metro Denver HBA, and as reported by Inside Real Estate News. And while the gain was a small one, mostly due to brutally cold weather and the shortage of subdivisions that are ready for building, it was still a gain.

The good news is demand still outpaces supply. And Jeff Whiton, the HBA's CEO, expects 2014 to trump 2013 in home building activity. He expects to see more diversity in product, ranging from big production builders' increases to smaller, infill builders returning to the market and more custom homes. Read more...

Case-Shiller report: Denver area home prices gained 9% by year's end

February 25, 2014 — The S&P / Case-Shiller Home Price Indices reported today that through December, home prices were up by the end of the year by 9 percent in Denver and 11.3 percent nationwide, over the same period in 2012. 

While area home prices dipped by .1 percent from November and .7 percent from the high in September, Denver's 146.26 level — where home prices are up 46.26 from their baseline of 100 in January 2000 — is certainly good news and respectable. 

David Blitzer, chair of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said that the home price index ended its best year since 2005, yet thought that the strongest part of the recovery in home value may be over — for now. "Year-over-year values for the two monthly composites weakened and the quarterly national index barely improved. The seasonally adjusted data also exhibited some softness and loss of momentum."

While the sluggish sales in December could be attributed to the colder weather that seemed to hit most of the country, Blitzer is concerned about recent economic reports that sugget a bleaker picture for housing. With permits and housing starts below expectations nationwide, Blitzer observed that higher home prices and mortgage rates are affecting affordability. Mortgage default rates are back to their pre-crisis levels, yet banks are staying firm on their lending standards. Even so, the report singled out Denver as one of the markets that has improved. Read more...

Markel Homes set to start building in Prospect New Town

February 21, 2014 — Markel Home will open a sales office in Longmont's Prospect New Town development on February 28 and start construction on townhomes, ranch and two-story homes next month. 

Michael Markel, president of the Boulder-based homebuilder, is excited about being part of the award-winning New Urbanist community. "We've received a lot of interest in the project and homebuyers are excited about our new designs and floor plans," he said. "Becoming a part of this unique neighborhood is a real opportunity for us."

Unique is the zoning approval Markel received for the project. Nine of the 18 lots are being developed for single family homes, most of which have the option for a separate carriage house that can be rented as an apartment or used as a guest house. Each home and carriage house will have its own parking. And select townhome designs include a finish option above the garage for use as a studio, office or additional bedroom and bath. 

Single family home prices begin in the mid-$700s, while townhomes start from the low $500s.

Markel Homes has agreed to purchase the remaining residential lots for future development at the award-winning Prospect New Town. With build out projected within three years, Markel will offer more single family homes, as well as townhomes, condo lofts and apartments designed with indoor and outdoor common areas, elevators and covered parking.

Oakwood Homes offers solar power as standard option 

February 18, 2014 — While new homebuyers say they want solar power, Oakwood Homes found that when push came to shove, that only five percent of homebuyers were willing to roll the cost of solar power into their mortgages.

The Denver Business Journal reported that when Oakwood Homes planned the Carriage House development in Green Valley Ranch, the homebuilder offered solar power by partnering with San Mateo, California-based SolarCity Corp.

Here's how it works: SolarCity rents its systems to homeowners through a 20-year lease, where the cost of the solar system is not included in the home price. Through monthly lease payments, homeowners get solar-generated electricity in their new homes. The lease payments, along with the smaller electric bills are typically just 70 percent of standard electric bills. A win-win-win all around.

The result? Of Oakwood's 126 Carriage House homes, 62 have sold; 80 percent of them opted for solar power. Dwayne Montoya, regional sales manager for Oakwood, said, "Consumers just grabbed on to it." Read more...

MDC's Larry Mizel is bullish on spring home selling season

February 17, 2014 — MDC Holdings' average home price was $368,000 last year, a $50,000 increase from its 2012 average sale price. During an analyst conference call earlier this month on 2013 fourth quarter, CEO & Chair Larry Mizel said, "We're looking forward to a robust spring market."

With several new communities coming on line, John Stephens, MDC's chief financial officer, principal accounting officer and senior VP, said MDC has been investing where the demand is — in the company's home state of Colorado. "In terms of markets, we've been very, very comfortable and very excited about what we've done here in our home state of Colorado," Stephens said. "Demand was strong early in the year, obviously tapered off a little bit as we got into the fourth quarter."

During the Q&A that followed Mizel and Stephens' initial report, Mizel's response to what he considers a robust spring market will be, in light of the fact that mortgages no longer hover around the 3.5% rate. Beyond stabilizing the mortgage and stock market, along with Washington's waffling decisionmakers, Mizel said, "I think we have a couple elements in the housing market that really puts us down the road in a positive basis and that is that the standing inventory of homes is very low."

He added that he's optimistic because, "as a general statement, as new homes are being completed, they generally don't stay on the market very long."

Mizel also observed the new normal may now very well include resale, distressed and new homes. As such, he expects MDC to do very well in that market. "Even though these items are not discernable, we certainly have a high level of confidence that our skills are very much in line with where the market is and where it is going — which is in a positive direction." Read more... 

Green building is red hot — and is expected to keep growing

February 11, 2014 — Green building was 23 percent of the homebuilding market last year, and it's expected to grow another ten percent in just two years, according to a McGraw-Hill study that was announced at the International Builders Show last week. The study, reported on by EcoBuilding Pulse, showed that the green homebuilding market accounted for about $36 billion last year. That number is expected to jump to $83 - $105 billion by 2016.

The report showed that during the downturn, builders who built green actually accelerated and those builders remained in business in bigger numbers than those who didn't build green. And as the market continues to improve, the study reported there could be a split between high-performance builders and those who continue to build according to traditional construction practices.

The study also showed that 68 percent of homebuilders said their buyers will pay more for green features; 84 percent of remodelers said clients would pay a premium. Read more... 

Brookfield Residential clinches gold at IBS

February 7, 2014 — NAHB awarded Brookfield Residential a gold award in its Best American Living Awards Green category at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas for Brookfield's ultra-energy efficient Passive House in the Midtown at Clear Creek neighborhood.

NAHB also recognized Brookfield Residential with an honorable mention in the category, Project of the Year — Single Family Production.

"We are honored and proud to receive this recognition," said Perry Cadman, general manager. "These awards further validate our efforts to prove that a production home builder can indeed respond to the demands of homebuyers who are increasingly savvy to the benefits of energy efficiency."

Slow and steady growth for remodelers, says NAHB

February 5, 2014 — At the International Builders Show in Las Vegas, NAHB experts reported that they expect remodeling to gain a nice, modest 2.5 percent increase over last year in single family home remodeling projects — and another 1.8 percent increase in 2015.

Paul Emrath, NAHB's VP for survey and housing policy research, predicted the slow and steady growth throughout this year and into next year. "That outlook is consistent with the indicators of future activity in our recent Remodeling Market Index survey. It's a positive sign that whole house remodels have rebounded somewhat, as home equity levels increased in 2013, though traditional bath and kitchen projects remain the most popular remodels."

A recent NAHB survey showed that repairs and replacements of old components and the desire for upgraded amenities were the top reasons homeowners hired a professional remodeler. Paul Sullivan, NAHB's Remodeler Chair, added, "Remodelers look forward to working in a strengthened market as home sales rise."

NAHB predicts 32% increase in single family housing starts this year

February 4, 2014 — Economists speaking at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas today expect that housing will continue its climb to higher ground in 2014. NAHB's Chief Economist David Crowe said, "My single family forecast for 2014 is pretty aggressive: 822,000 starts, which is 200,000 more than 2013." He observed that five key points mark the turnaround: "Consumers are back, pent-up demand is emerging, there is a growing need for new construction, distressed sales are diminishing and builders see it."

NAHB notes that consumer confidence has returned to pre-recession levels and household balance sheets are on the mend. Also, year-over-year household formations are increasing, and average 620,000, versus 500,000 during the downturn. What's more, new home sales average 8.7 percent of total home sales — just half of the historical average of 16.1 percent. And the percentage of mortgages seriously delinquent has fallen; the decline has been larger in markets with the highest rates.

NAHB expects 1.15 million housing starts this year, with single family production up 32 percent to 822,000 starts. Crowe also expects single family production to grow an additional 41 percent to 1.16 million units next year. And single family home sales are projected to increase by 35.9 percent, to 584,000. By the end of the year, he predicts housing starts will be 71 percent of 'normal' and 93 percent of 'normal' by the end of 2015. 

Housing will be affordable, even as mortgage rates rise

Freddie Mac expects home originations to eclipse refinances this year — the first time since 2000 that this is expected to happen. And as the economy strengthens and the Fed tapers its buyback of mortgage-backed securities, there will be an upward pressure on mortgage rates, but not enough to harm housing affordability, according to Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist at Freddie Mac.

"We've gone from dirt cheap to cheap," Nofthaft said, "and I think we'll see a half a gradual rise of about a half a percentage point to 5 percent in 2014." Even so, "markets will remain quite affordable."

He expects home sales and prices to rise an average of five percent nationwide, and housing starts to post a 20 percent gain. 

And David Berson said that because there's a big pent-up demand to form households — mostly by many college graduates who were forced to double up or live with their parents during the downturn — stronger job growth and a strengthening economy this year should lead to a strong formation of households.

The chief economist and senior vice president at Nationwide Insurance said, "I think this will be a pretty good year for home construction. There will be a big increase in single family home production, but not as much for multifamily."

Colorado economists predicts '14 mortgage rates, single family home construction 

January 31, 2014 — Six of Colorado's economic forecasters put the state's outlook under a microscope and predict that the recovery from the Great Recession will continue this year. Whew! Coloradobiz magazine reported in its Jan/Feb '14 issue that economists expect Colorado's growth rate will outpace the national rate, ranging anywhere from 2.3 to 3.1 percent.

Job growth is expected to continue in construction and inflation will range from 2.2 to 3 percent in Denver. And the Fed has 'pumped nearly $3 trillion into the U.S. economy in its  attempt to avoid a depression — and get the economy back on a reasonable growth trajectory,' according to Coloradobiz. Yet economists are nervous about the Fed abruptly ending its quantitative easing program, which could cause rates to soar and plunge the country back into recession.

Even so, Colorado's economists expect mortgage rates to range from 4.5 to 5.2 percent this year. While they're not the stellare 3 percent we saw last year, they're still much better than the 15 percent interest rates from the early '80s. As long as the mortgage rate doesn't go above 6 percent, local mortgage lenders believe the mortgage market will remain healthy.

The economists believe that statewide, homebuilders will build anywhere from 29,100 to 39,300 single family homes. When reviewing Summit Economics, LLC's Colorado Monthly Economic Indicators (which was revised December 22, 2013) and highlighting the Denver-Boulder MSA, those numbers are more likely to range from 13,095 to 17,685 single family home permits. Read more...

 

It may be cold outside, but homebuilding is still hot

January 28, 2014 — The S&P / Case-Shiller Home Price Indices reported today that through November, the 10- and 20-city composite are up nearly 14 percent over the same period in 2012.

While Dallas and Chicago both posted record increases, Denver was down .6 off its highest level, due to two consecutive months of declines.Even so, with an index level of 146.45 in November, the Denver market is up a respectable 8.9 percent from November 2012.

David M. Blitzer, chair of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, observed that prices typically weaken at that time of the year. And home prices continue increasing, even with the boost in mortage interest rates last May. "Mortgage applications for purchase were up in recent weeks, confirming homebuilders' optimism," Blitzer said. That, combined with the low 1.5% inflation in 2013, "homeowners are enjoying real appreciation and rising equity values."

While housing will make even more contributions to the economy this year, he expects that "the pace of price gains is likely to slow during the year." Read more...

ProBuild makes Forbes magazine list

January 22, 2014 — ProBuild Holdings was one of six privately held Colorado companies to make the annual Forbes magazine list. According to the Denver Business Journal, ProBuild Holdings was ranked 126 of the 224 Forbes ranks by their 2013 revenue, with $3.6 billion in revenue last year. Read more... 

Nationwide housing production reaches just under 1 million in December

January 21, 2014 — Total housing starts nationwide reached 999,000 in December, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. That makes it the third-highest monthly level of production last year, said NAHB's Chair, Rick Judson. "This rate is in line with our builder surveys, and tells us we are seeing a return to trend after a strong November."

NAHB's Chief Economist, David Crowe observed that overall production was up 18 percent last year, over 2012. "As pent up demand is unlocked and the labor market improves, we anticipate that 2014 should be an even better year for home construction," he said. "That's good news for economic growth, as each new home that's built creates three full-time jobs and contributes to the tax base of local communities."

There were 667,000 single family housing starts in December, the second-highest monthly total for single family starts last year. 

Regionally, the West saw a combined increase of 15 percent for single and multifamily housing production and gained 10.5 percent in permit activity for December.

'13 final ICC hearing: Mechanical equipment tradeoffs kept out of '15 IECC code

January 14, 2014 — On the final day of last year's International Code Council hearing proceedings October 10 in Atlantic City, NJ, homebuilder advocates banded together to hold the energy efficiency levels to the 2012 IECC levels, and mitigate any further progress in energy code efficiency gains. According to GreenBuilder magazine, mechanical equipment tradeoffs was the most-contested proposal during this portion of the hearings. If passed, builders could trade off building envelope measures for installing higher-than-minimum efficiency equipment. 

What's wrong with that? Builders are already installing higher-than-minimum efficiency equipment, because it's already readily available — and DOE standards are outdated. A tradeoff would have given homebuilders an efficiency credit that could then be used to reduce insulation or window efficiency below minimum code.

Energy efficiency advocates were determined to close what they viewed was a major loophole and defeat the proposal, which is now being referred to as RE166 (the proposal number). Among many issues, including the proposal creating a 2015 IECC with unequal compliance paths, Boulder County opposed the proposal because it will slow the county's climage goals. 

While the issue was hotly contested, code officials there voted 79-49 in favor of keeping the tradeoffs out of the code for the 2015 code cycle. Read more on pg 60-61...

Century Communities buys lots in Castle Rock

January 14, 2014 — The Denver Business Journal reported in its Jan 10-16 issue that Century Communities bought 144 homesites in the Terrain master-planned community. In Castle Rock, the HBA named Terrain our '13 Community of the Year.

Brookfield Homes expands into Brighton

January 10, 2014 — In its first development outside its Midtown at Clear Creek neighborhood, Brookfield Homes has expanded into Brighton Crossing at 45th & Bridge streets, where it offers six floor plans that are designed to cater to folks with an active lifestyle and a little extra space in all the right places. The homes range from 1,622 to 2,300 square feet and prices starting in the high $200s. One of the floor plans is an Urban Farmhouse design, complete with board-and-batten siding and roof pitches that match its architectural style. 

Unique to this project is Brookfield's multi-load garage, which lets homebuyers drive through the garage from the driveway to the alley — or vice versa. The multi-load garages offer active homebuyers a place to store their cars, trucks, trailers — even various RVs. Some models have another optional garage at the back of the home, for a total capacity of four cars.

The multi-load garages gave architects the flexibility to create one- and two-story living space that made more sense in the homes, with more efficient space allocation to the kitchen, great room and storage. Read more...

They're back: Assumable loans see light of day again

January 8, 2014 —  FHA has them. And some conventional loans have them. Assumable loans have been dusted off and are once again being offered to borrowers, according to Inside Real Estate News. Back in the early '80s, when interest rates hovered around 16%, assumable loans were almost a must-have to close on a home. As incredible as it seems now, many folks didn't even need to qualify for an assumable loan — and many contracts included a provision that the interest rate could increase.

Obviously, neither scenario is an option in today's lending environment. And today, there's usually a transfer fee the buyer needs to spring for, to assume a loan. But it's a great hedge against higher interest rates. It's also a good bet that homebuilders' buyers can command a premium when selling their homes with an assumable loan — and add thousands of dollars to their bank accounts, as a result. Read more...

Case-Shiller: Year ends up 13.6% in its 10- and 20-city composites

December 31, 2013 — Data released today through October by the S&P Dow Jones Indices for its S&P / Case-Shiller Indices posted year over year gains of 13.6% — and have returned to their mid-2004 levels. Denver declined from its peak of 147.18 in September to close out October at a respectable 146.78, and an annualized 9.5% improvement over the previous 12 months.

While overall, prices increased in October, David Blitzer, chair of the Index Committee at the S&P Dow Jones Indices, observed that the monthly numbers show that "we're living on borrowed time and the boom is fading," he said. "The key economic question facing housing is the Fed's future course to scale back quantitative easing and how this will affect mortgage rates."

He added that other housing data suggest that price gains may be close to their peak, yet other economic data indicate that 2014 may see faster growth. "Most forecast for home prices point to single digit growth in 2014," Blitzer said. Read more...  

New home starts top 1 million in November

December 18, 2013 — Nationwide housing production rose nearly 23 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million in November, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

NAHB's Chief Economist, David Crowe noted that with single and multifamily starts at five-year highs, "the recovery is here to stay. Mortgage rates still remain very affordable and pent-up demand is helping to boost the housing market. We expect a continued steady, gradual growth in starts and home sales in 2014."

More from the report:

  • Single-family starts posted a 20.8 percent gain to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 727,000 units in November — their fastest rate since December 2007. Multifamily production was up 26 percent to 364,000 units.
  • Combined activity starts rose 8.8 percent in the West.
  • While this was the second month that new permit activity topped the million mark, overall building permits dropped 3.1 percent to 1.007 million units in November.
  • Total permit issuance fell in the West by 0.4 percent.  

Solterra raises money to support local kids' programs

December 18, 2013 — Brookfield Residential's Solterra community raised $18,265 to support the YMCA of Metropolitan Denver at its fourth annual Solterra Wine Festival. All tallied, Solterra has raised more than $60,000 for the nonprofit. 

Solterra created the event to support youth and teen programs provided by the Y at the Southlands Shopping Center in Aurora. The YMCA and its staff coordinated the event for Solterra. This YMCA also manages all programs in Brookfield Residential's properties at Tallyn's Reach in Aurora and Brighton Crossing in Brighton. 

Homebuilder confidence is up this month

December 17, 2013 — Homebuilders in the west are feeling good about where the industry is headed. The NAHB / Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) showed that nationally, the index rose to 58, meaning builders have a positive view on where the industry is going. In the west, that index number hovers around 59 for December. 

The index tracks three components: current sales conditions, sales expectations and prospective buyer traffic. All three HMI scores posted gains this month: Sales conditions jumped six points to 64; sales expectations rose two points, to 62 and prospective buyer traffic gained three points, to 44. Since last December, the index is up 11 points, and has been above 50 for the past seven months. 

David Crowe, NAHB's chief economist, observed that the recent mortgage interest spikes haven't put off buyers, mainly because rates are still near historic lows. "Following a two-month pause in the index, this uptick is due in part to release of the pent-up demand caused by the uncertainty generated by the October government shutdown," Crowe said. "We continue to look for a gradual improvement in the housing recovery in the year ahead."

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

Oakwood Homes
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 

Weekley Homes
Single family residence, 8110 E. 50th Pl., $238,531

Read more...

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."

Read more on the winners and finalists here...

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, 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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