Builder Confidence Hits Major Milestone in June

WASHINGTON, June 17 - Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes hit a significant milestone in June, surging eight points to a reading of 52 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. Any reading over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

"This is the first time the HMI has been above 50 since April 2006, and surpassing this important benchmark reflects the fact that builders are seeing better market conditions as demand for new homes increases," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder and developer from Charlotte, N.C. "With the low inventory of existing homes, an increasing number of buyers are gravitating toward new homes."

More buyers than sellers push King County home prices up

(Source: Seattle Times)

By Marissa Evans, Seattle Times

Peter and Myrna Hillyer opened their North Seattle home of 45 years to potential buyers Wednesday.

One was Meaghan Frisbee. She and her husband are trying to decide between adding a second floor to their house in Phinney Ridge or moving. They’ve seen 20 homes in the last month.

“All the houses are getting snapped up,” said Frisbee, cradling her 3-month-old daughter in her arms. “It’s hard to find a house.”

Homebuyers clueless about mortgages

Source: CNNMoney

The housing market is heating up, yet many house hunters are not prepared to take on the biggest purchase of their lives.

When it comes to mortgages, homebuyers answered basic questions about terms, how to choose a lender and financing wrong nearly one-third of the time, according to an April survey of more than 1,000 current and prospective homeowners by real estate website Zillow.

Builder Confidence in the 55+ Housing Market Shows Strong Growth in First Quarter

WASHINGTON, May 9 - In the first quarter of 2013, the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) 55+ single-family Housing Market Index (HMI) increased 19 points on a year over year basis  to 46, which is the highest first-quarter number recorded since the inception of the index in 2008 and sixth consecutive quarter of year over year improvements.

"Builders and developers for the 55+ housing sector continue to report increased optimism in the market," said Robert Karen, chairman of NAHB's 50+ Housing Council and managing member of the Symphony Development Group. "We are seeing an increase in consumer demand for homes and communities that are designed to address the specific needs of the mature homebuyer."

Travel Guide: Seattle for Design Lovers

By Anne Higuera CGR, CAPS, via Houzz

Seattle’s downtown has grown up in the past 50 years. Its growth spurt didn't really start until the iconic Space Needle, with an observation deck and restaurant, was erected for the 1962 World's Fair. Over the decades since, the skyline has filled with mammoth office buildings, residential towers and, in 2012, a giant Ferris wheel.

Now the city known for grunge music and cutting-edge technology is finding its architecture shaped by some of those same influences, especially the latter. Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks are all making — or have made — their mark on the city, with everything from the Gates Foundation's philanthropic headquarters taking shape to Amazon's new office towers earmarked for the skyline. Read the rest of this story with pics on Houzz.

Improving Markets List Includes 258 Metros in May

WASHINGTON, May 6 - The number of U.S. housing markets showing sustained improvement in three key measures fell slightly to 258 in May from 273 in April, according to the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), released today. This total includes entrants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The IMI identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. Four new markets were added to the list and 19 were dropped from it this month. Newcomers included the geographically diverse metros of Dothan, Ala.; Elizabethtown, Ky.; Salisbury, Md.; and Salem, Ore.

New-Home Sales Rise 1.5 Percent in March

WASHINGTON, April 23 - Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 417,000 units in March, according to newly released figures from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau.

"This is the second-best sales number we've seen since early 2010, and a good sign of the continued, gradual headway that our industry is making toward recovery as more buyers jump off the fence in time to take advantage of today's low interest rates and prices," said Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C.

Housing Starts Rise on Strength in Multifamily in March

by NAHB, WASHINGTON, April 16 - Soaring production of multifamily apartments pushed nationwide housing starts beyond the million-unit mark for the first time since 2008 in March, according to newly released figures from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. The data show that total starts activity rose 7.0 percent for the month due entirely to a 31.1 percent increase on the multifamily side, while single-family production slipped 4.8 percent from a number that was revised strongly upward for the previous month.

"Today's report is a reflection of the solid demand that many areas are seeing for rental apartments as young people take that first step into the housing market, which is a very positive development," noted Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. "The numbers are also in keeping with our latest surveys that show single-family builders are experiencing some difficulties in keeping up with rising demand for new homes due to increasing construction costs and other factors."

Number of Improving Housing Markets Holding Steady in April

WASHINGTON, April 4 - Following seven consecutive months of gains, the list of improving U.S. housing markets remained virtually unchanged in April, with 273 metros on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), released today. This total reflects a net reduction of one market since March and again includes entrants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The IMI identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. Five new markets were added to the list and six markets were dropped from it this month. Newcomers included the geographically diverse locations of Macon, Ga.; Portland, Maine; Rocky Mount, N.C.; Eugene, Ore.; and Jackson, Tenn.

Sales of New Houses in U.S. Cap Best Two Months Since 2008

By Lorraine Woellert, Bloomberg

Sales (NHSLTOT) of new U.S. houses in February capped the best back-to-back months in more than four years, spurred by near record-low borrowing costs and improving job prospects.

Purchases of newly built homes fell 4.6 percent to a 411,000 annualized pace, following a 431,000 rate in the prior month that was lower than previously estimated, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. The median estimate of 78 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a decrease to 420,000. It was the best two-month showing since August and September 2008.

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