Friday, June 28, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 6/28/13


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 6/28/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • May pending home sales rose to highest level in over six years
  • 1st Qtr 2013 GDP reduced to 1.8% in third and final estimate
  • Both personal income and spending rose in May even as savings rate increases
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 6/26/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 6/26/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • New home sales rose to highest level in nearly five years in May
  • April Case-Shiller indices up by low single digits over previous 12 months
  • FHFA House Price Index rises for 15th straight month in April
  • Consumer confidence improves again in June to highest level since January 2008
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Monday, June 24, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 6/24/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 6/24/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Philadelphia Fed survey indicates improvement in regional business conditions
  • Mortgage applications dip by 3.3% 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.

Friday, June 21, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 6/21/13


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 6/21/13 on the Web.


In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Existing home sales up by 12.9% from a year ago as prices rise 15.4%
  • Leading Economic Index remains mostly flat in May, rising by just 0.1%
  • Federal Reserve hints at slowly unwinding its economic training wheels for months ahead
  • Initial unemployment claims rise by 18,000 in latest report
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 6/19/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 6/19/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Housing starts in May rise 6.8% from April and 28.6% from May 2012
  • Building permits in May fall by 3.1% from April but still 20.8% above May 2012
  • CPI rose by 1.7% through the 12 months ending in May 2013
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Builder confidence surges to highest level since April 2006

More good news from the NAHB about the rebounding housing market:

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.” 

The eight-point jump in the index was the biggest one-month gain since August and September of 2002, when the HMI recorded a similar increase of eight points.

“Builders are experiencing some relief in the headwinds that are holding back a more robust recovery,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Today’s report is consistent with our forecast for a 29 percent increase in total housing starts this year, which would mark the first time since 2007 that starts have topped the 1 million mark.”
 Read the entire press release here.

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 6/17/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 6/17/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Consumer confidence dips in June from six-year high
  • Producer Price Index rose by 0.5% in May, up by 1.7%
  • Industrial production flat in May after small April decline
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Optimism at 2013 PCBC: Builders both Old and New Plan for the Future


As opposed to the gallows humor and despondent energy of the last several years, the 2013 PCBC – staged for the first time in downtown San Diego – was characterized by a strong optimism, with education sessions now focused on obtaining land, getting financing, growing your organization and building for an increasingly multi-cultural population.  At night, besides the Builder Bash co-hosted by Builder & Developer magazine, there were so many parties being thrown that it would be nearly impossible to hit them all.  In summary, the new dawn for which we’ve all been waiting has clearly risen.

During the show, I had the chance to chat at length with two builders gearing up strongly for what we hope is an extended industry renaissance, but these aren’t huge, public builders with operations in multiple markets.  Rather, they include the first builder to go public since 2004 (TriPointe Homes) as well as an established niche player with the financial backing of a large Japanese conglomerate (MBK Homes).  In both of these cases, growth is forecast to be steady with the ability to build multiple product types.

In the case of TriPointe, former William Lyon Homes alums Doug Bauer, Tom Mitchell and Mike Grubbs founded their building firm in April 2009 even though there was little sign of the housing rebound to come.  The “tri” comes from the company’s focus to think, renew and inspire community development by tapping industry veterans with impressive track records, but it was really two pivotal events which led to the company’s growth.

In the fall of 2009, when The Irvine Company’s Donald Bren decided to ignite the local market by hiring fee-for-service companies to continue building out the ranch, he took a chance on the start-up company due to his own confidence in the team’s ability to deliver.  That success – combined with Bauer’s personal friendship with investor Barry Sternlicht and his multi-faceted Starwood Capital Group – led to a $150 million investment which allowed the fledgling builder to buy its most important asset – land -- often at heavily discounted prices.  According to Bauer, their timing was just right to be making such bets, since most private builders were too heavily leveraged due to their extensive land holdings, and public builders were busy keeping up with their regular bond payments in order to remain solvent.

As the company continued to scale up its lot purchases and over 350 closings per year, it was time for the next step, which for them was an initial public offering in January 2013 netting $233 million, almost all of it targeted towards more land purchases and construction costs.  Moving forward, Bauer plans to build throughout California as well as Colorado and other strategic states, with the ability to develop everything from traditional single-family homes in master-planned communities to multi-family product in various infill locations.  In each case, TriPointe plans to include green building products and services as well as ‘memory points,’ which are rooms and design elements intended to spark the imagination of potential buyers with their own set of tastes and traditions.

In the case of the boutique builder MBK Homes, the story is one of emerging from a homebuilding hibernation which included diversifying into rental housing, live/work units and even rehabilitating distressed REO properties for sale.  As one of many subsidiaries of the global Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co., MBK also has the distinct advantage of being able to finance its activities internally should it choose to do so.

However, according to long-time president Tim Kane, the company’s move into rental housing paid two different types of dividends:  besides providing cash flow when home building was almost non-existent, working with Gen Y customers has given it a marketing edge because they’re now fully aware about their wants and needs.  With the price for land permitted for condominiums now worth more than those for apartments – which Kane says was flipped for the last seven years – MBK is again on the hunt for California projects which would hit that bull’s eye of providing housing within a 30-minute commute of major employment centers.

In the last 90 days alone, the builder has invested $40 million in locations as diverse as Newport Beach, Stanton, North Hollywood and San Diego, for which it plans a variety of both single- and multi-family projects focusing on the high quality and customer experience which has made it the top choice of homebuyers surveyed by Eliant for three years running.  The goal?  To make sure buyers are so enthralled with their new homes that they won’t even consider a resale alternative.

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 6/14/13


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 6/14/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Retail sales rose more than expected in May
  • Initial unemployment claims fall by 12,000 in latest report
  • U.S. import and export prices fall unexpectedly in May as global growth cools
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 6/12/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 6/12/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:

  • April factory orders rise slightly from both March and from April 2012
  • Improving Markets Index rises by 5 to 263 in June
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Monday, June 10, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 6/10/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 6/10/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:

  • Payroll employment rose by 175,000 in May as unemployment rate remained unchanged
  • Consumer credit use rose by 5.75% in April, less than forecast
  • Service sector rose slightly faster than manufacturing in May
  • Fed's Beige Book shows 'modest to moderate' growth, Texas 'strong'
  • Mortgage applications fall by 11.5% in latest survey as rates spike
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 6/5/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 6/5/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:

  • Construction spending in March ticked up slightly to $860.8 billion
  • Manufacturing sector activity contracted by 1.7% in May as demand softens
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Monday, June 3, 2013

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 6/3/13

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 6/3/13 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicator:
  • Consumer confidence withstands Boston bombing
  • Chicago PMI rises in May to highest reading since March 2012
  • Personal income and savings rate flat in April as price index declines by 0.3%
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.