2015IBS

Thursday, January 22, 2015

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/22/15


Greetings from IBS 2015!

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 1/22/15 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Builder confidence dips one point to 57 but still well into positive territory
  • December building permits dip 1.9 percent from November but up 1.0 percent year-over-year
  • December housing starts rise 4.4 percent from November and 5.3 percent year-over-year
  • Mortgage applications rise by 14.2 percent in latest survey as rates dip again
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/20/15


Greetings from IBS 2015!

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 1/20/15 on the Web.


In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • CPI fell by 0.4 percent in December due largely to falling gas prices
  • Industrial demand fell slightly in December due to reduced utility demand
  • January consumer confidence index jumps to highest level since 2004
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Monday, January 19, 2015

January column for Builder & Developer magazine now online

My column for the January 2015 issue of Builder and Developer magazine is now posted online.

For this issue, entitled "Practicality and Nostalgia Meet Technlogy," I wanted to review some of the new housing trends we can expect in 2015. An excerpt:
We’ll start seeing less of what I like to call the two-story, “impress the in-laws” foyers. Instead, look for larger garages with nooks for hobbies as well as specialized storage areas throughout the home where everything has its place to minimize clutter. In addition, given advances in portable fireplaces which don’t require traditional venting, look for more indoor and outdoor fire pits and even painting-sized options which can be hung on walls.

In terms of design cues, don’t be surprised to see some updated relics from the past which have been re-purposed for 2015, such as free-standing bathtubs accompanied by open wall niches for storage. The durability of porcelain is now competing with other materials as imitation wood for flooring options, which not only saves money (and the environment) versus the real thing, but is more resistant to moisture and actually stands up better to high-traffic areas over time. Similarly, the durability of naturally occurring quartzite is starting to edge out man-made quartz due to its closer appearance to marble as well as being nearly indestructible...

To read the entire column, click here.

To read the entire January 2015 issue in digital format, click here.

Friday, January 16, 2015

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/16/15



Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 1/16/15 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Producer Price Index dipped 0.3 percent in December but up 1.1 percent for 2014
  • Business inventories rose in November as sales fell slightly
  • January Empire State Manufacturing Survey shows widespread optimism
  • Philadelphia Fed's Business Outlook Survey rose modestly in January
  • Initial unemployment claims rise by 19,000 in latest report
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/15/15

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 1/1/15 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Job openings rose three percent in November, up 17 percent over the past year
  • Retail sales posted unexpected decline in December
  • Mortgage applications rise by nearly 50 percent in latest survey as rates fall to lowest level since May 2013
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/13/15

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 1/13/15 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Employers added 252,000 jobs in December, capping best year of hiring since 1999
  • Consumer credit rose again in November due to non-revolving debt
  • FOMC minutes show rates remaining stable until at least April; will continue to monitor potential inflation
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Friday, January 9, 2015

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/09/15



Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 1/09/15 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Private sector employment rose by 241,000 in November
  • Service sector economy grew in December, but at lower rate than previous month
  • Mortgage applications fall 9.1 percent in latest survey
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 1/06/15

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 1/06/15 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Construction spending fell in November due to fewer non-residential projects
  • Manufacturing sector reported slowdown in November, mixed message from falling oil prices
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Housing Trends for 2015: Practicality and nostalgia meet technology

With the U.S. economic rebound gaining strength and the housing market slowly returning to normal, now is a great time to peer ahead at what kind of design trends and amenities new home buyers are likely to prefer in 2015.  Whether related to technology, easy maintenance, a more practical use of space or even better materials, with consumer confidence rising and unemployment falling, this time look for a return to nostalgia versus living large.

Given the importance of access to information in today’s world, one key unstoppable trend covers technology.  With lower prices for web-controlled cameras, motion sensors for pets, more battery-operated devices, and software which allow smart devices to communicate with each other, the concept of a relatively inexpensive, scalable whole-home system is getting closer to reality.

As smart phones and tablets get smaller, the demand for large built-in desks and separate home offices is declining in favor of charging stations strewn throughout the home.  The most popular spaces are common areas such as corners of kitchens, entrances from the garage and even stairway landings.  For extra security, more builders are beginning to offer various types of keyless entry systems, some of which track who entered the home and when.  Given the rise of the sharing economy, vacation home owners will also benefit from the ability to change entry codes remotely in between guests.

Other technologies targeting the environment and health issues are also gaining ground, including heat recovery systems which constantly filter out particulates, lighting systems which work in concert with natural sunlight, and gardens featuring edible items.  For pool owners, a new method to filter the water simply borrows from the earth with the use of a second pool filled with plants and gravel which cleanse without the use of chlorine or salt.

With water use increasingly on our minds given long-term climate change, more owners are also looking for tanks and cisterns to collect and store rain, gray water systems to re-use on outdoor areas, sprinkler systems which are sync with weather conditions, permeable pavement which resupply groundwater inventories, grass which requires little or no mowing, and more drought-tolerant plants.

Also prepare to say goodbye to the McMansion, at least in most communities. Since the Great Recession, many new homes have also been returning to more practical plans, with a return to smaller kitchens and family rooms which surround residents on a more human scale.  We’ll start seeing less of what I like to call the two-story, “impress the in-laws” foyers.

Instead, look for larger, temperature-controlled garages with nooks for hobbies as well as specialized storage areas throughout the home where everything has its place to minimize clutter.  In addition, given advances in portable fireplaces which don’t require traditional venting, look for more indoor and outdoor fire pits and even painting-sized options which can be hung on walls.

In terms of design cues, don’t be surprised to see some updated relics from the past which have been re-purposed for 2015, such as free-standing bathtubs accompanied by open wall niches for storage.  The durability of porcelain is now competing with other materials as imitation wood for flooring options, which not only saves money (and the environment) versus the real thing, but is more resistant to moisture and actually stands up better to high-traffic areas over time.  Similarly, the durability of naturally occurring quartzite is starting to edge out man-made quartz due to its closer appearance to marble as well as being nearly indestructible.

For fixtures, tiles or even pots dangling from a kitchen ceiling, copper is making a big comeback, allowing designers to introduce a warm yet industrial look to any type of floor plan.  In the kitchen, look for variations of all white to re-emerge, which not only stands the test of time (sadly, the same could not be said of avocado green), but also allows the choice of more striking hardware to stand out.  In other rooms, a growing optimism in the country is being revealed in more Miami-like coral shades, which can add color to a room without being too flashy.

Finally, the trend towards up-selling outdoor living spaces will continue to gain ground this year.  Whether it’s a rooftop deck with pool and spa atop a high-rise urban condo building, a suburban townhome community with pet washing facilities located next to a dog park, or an executive single-family home with backyard amenities usually reserved for resorts, this is one area in which builders of new homes can really excel with their most creative instincts.  Happy 2015!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 12/30/14

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 12/30/14 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Durable goods orders dropped for third straight month in November
  • Both personal income and spending rose in November
  • Initial unemployment claims dip by 9,000 in latest report
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.