Friday, February 27, 2015

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 2/27/15


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 2/27/15 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • FHFA House Price Index up 1.4 percent in fourth quarter of 2014 and 4.9 percent year-over-year
  • CPI fell 0.7 percent in January; down by 0.1 percent over previous 12 months
  • Durable goods orders rose in January for first time in three months
  • Initial unemployment claims rise by 31,000 in latest report
  • Mortgage applications fall 3.5 percent in latest survey as rates rise slightly
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 2/26/15

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 2/26/15 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • January new home supply rose to highest level since 2010; sales up 5.3 percent year over year
  • Case Shiller:  Home prices grew at twice the inflation rate in 2014
  • Consumer Confidence Index declines in February but still at pre-recession levels
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 2/24/15

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 2/24/15 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Pending home sales dropped in January but still up 3.2 percent year-over-year
  • Federal Reserve meeting minutes show plans to keep rates low for longer than previously indicated
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Friday, February 20, 2015

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 2/20/15


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 2/20/15 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Leading Economic Index rose slightly in January, but pace of growth moderating
  • Initial unemployment claims dip by 21,000 in latest survey
  • Philadelphia Fed's Business Outlook Survey dips in February but still in positive territory
  • Mortgage applications dip 13.2 percent in latest survey; rates rose slightly
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 2/19/15

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 2/19/15 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Housing starts dipped in January from a recent peak, but still up nearly 19 percent year-over-year
  • Building permits dipped slightly in January but still up eight percent year-over-year
  • Builder confidence dips slightly in February
  • Consumer sentiment takes unexpected dip in February but still at highest level since January 2007
  • Empire State Manufacturing Survey dips slightly in February but shows continued, modest expansion
  • Producer Price Index fell 0.8 percent in January; flat for previous 12 months
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

10 Real Estate Promotion Ideas You're Probably Not Doing

www.easyagentpro.com

The other day, I received an email from a LinkedIn contact at EasyAgentPro suggesting I link to a recent post of his entitled 10 Real Estate Promotion Ideas You're Probably Not Doing."

Some of these are ideas are pretty interesting, and not just for a real estate agent or broker, but certainly for builders and sales agents looking to reach out in different ways.  Here's an abbreviated list, but there's a lot more detail on the original post:

1. Write or Post Content Online such as:
  • Video tour of a local neighborhood and a 500 word description of what makes it great
  • 3 photographs of a neighborhood and your opinion on why to move there
  • Photographs and video tours comparing schools in the area
2. Call Past Clients. Hunt Down Referrals.
You have to ask most people 7 times for a referral before they will take you seriously. Do not be afraid to ask.

3. New Target Markets
Pick a location you haven’t been in over a year. This works particularly well if you’ve never been there before. Here’s a short list of ideas: a bar, a different church, a college campus, a coffeeshop, a yoga studio, a orchestra concert, a school football game, the mall.  Observe.  Chat.  Think of new ways to market to new target audiences.

4. Pop-Bys
Pop-bys are gifts you give to past clients or people you want to be a client. They are a great way to surprise individuals and make their day. They also provide awesome conversations starters.

5. Go Get Coffee. Leave The Office.
Pick a busy coffeeshop and sit down. People will be working and interacting.  This should give you the motivation and inspiration you need to start over on another day of marketing. 

6. Reach Out To Educators
Reach out to a local elementary school teacher this week and offer to do a talk on careers.  You never know what will happen! Maybe the teacher will give you a backlink from their blog. Or maybe you’ll meet a parent that is looking to buy/sell soon. Either way, you’ll build new connections. You’ll have more to talk about on your social media page too.
7. Contact Local Business Owners
If you’re in a rut, how do you think other local business owners feel?  They are in the same position as you. Restaurants face stiff competition from food chains. Local hardware stores face the Home Depots of the world. Reach out to these people and suggest co-marketing together.

8. Sit On A Board
Quick questions: Who is always featured on websites, newsletters, and other informational material?
Individuals who sit on boards. It isn’t the most immediate fix for your marketing, but this tactic will provide substantial value over the long haul.

9. Reach Out To An Agent Working Elsewhere
Reaching out to a top agent in another market for advice is a great way to get new ideas. You’ll see what’s working in their area and might be able to apply some of their tactics to your local market.
Be sure to keep the relationship a two way street. Provide feedback to the responses they send you.

10. Recharge Your Batteries And Forget About Real Estate Promotion Ideas

Take some time off.  Go for a swim, or a hike, or spend a day with a book at the beach.

February column for Builder & Developer magazine now online

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

For this issue, entitled "The Nationals at the 2015 International Builders Show" I chose to profile three different local projects here in Los Angeles Count which have won the Gold Award for various categories.  An excerpt:
...As a usual part of the show, the 35th annual National Sales and Marketing Awards – known as The Nationals – paid tribute to notable achievements by homebuilders, architects, designers and other associates as well as sales and marketing councils.
Since the winners of The Nationals tend to point towards the latest trends in new home architecture and design, I wanted to focus on a few of these local stand-out projects as well as to offer my congratulations to the very talented folks who made it all possible...
To read the entire column, click here.

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

Friday, February 13, 2015

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 2/13/15


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 2/13/15 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Retail sales sluggish in January for second straight month
  • Business inventories rose modestly in December, partly due to retailers restocking shelves
  • Initial unemployment claims rise by 25,000 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, February 12, 2015

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 2/12/15

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 2/12/15 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • December job openings rose to highest level since January 2001; wages are expected to follow
  • Business inventories edged up lower than expected in December
  • Mortgage loan applications dip 9.0 percent; rates rise slightly 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, February 10, 2015

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 2/10/15

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 2/10/15 on the Web.


In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • U.S. economy added 257,000 more jobs in January as wage growth finally takes off
  • Consumer borrowing climbed in December as credit card use rose sharply
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Architect Jon Jerde dies at 75

The world of architecture lost one of its greats this week, losing Jon Jerde, founder of the Venice-based The Jerde Partnership at the age of 75.

For me personally, my first introduction to Jerde's work was visiting San Diego's Horton Plaza for the first time not long after it opened.  Having grown up shopping mostly at enclosed shopping malls or traditional department stores, Horton's focus on outdoor spaces and the breaking of traditional rules brought home the idea that good architecture is, as Goethe said, frozen music.

It was really Horton Plaza which launched the idea of a reinvigorated downtown San Diego way back in 1985, and in its first year it attracted 30 million visitors (far more than the hoped-for 9 million).  Other open-air malls -- often part of large mixed-use projects -- have sprung up across the world over the last 30 years, but I think we still have Jerde to thank for putting the first example of a different kind of mall on the map.

Jerde and his firm took similar ideas to Las Vegas for The Bellagio resort and hotel, which, with its attention to detail, still ranks among the city's finest and most architecturally significant properties despite opening 17 years ago.  Jerde was also the vision behind Universal City's CityWalk, which is still just as vibrant and relevant at it was when it opened in 1993.

If you visit Jerde's Web site, you'll see the types of projects his firm has been working on (and still continues to do) all over the world.  While there are many important jobs in the development and building of new projects, the built environment simply wouldn't exist without architects, and certainly those like Jerde who push the profession to greater heights than before.

You can read a more detailed obituary on the L.A. Times Web site here.

The Nationals at the 2015 IBS: Winners showcase trends in usability, design and architecture

By nearly any measure, this year’s International Builders Show in Las Vegas was a huge success, with attendance up by eight percent over last year’s total to over 55,200.  But IBS was just part of a larger show dubbed Design and Construction Week, in which over 125,000 people also attended the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, the International Window Coverings Expo, The International Surface Event and the Las Vegas Market.  The combination of the crowds and the positive energy among the 3,750 exhibitors across the various venues made it by far the biggest show since the Great Recession.

As a usual part of the show, the 35th annual National Sales and Marketing Awards – known as The Nationals – paid tribute to notable achievements by homebuilders, architects, designers and other associates as well as sales and marketing councils.

Since the winners of The Nationals tend to point towards the latest trends in new home architecture and design, I wanted to focus on a few of these local stand-out projects as well as to offer my congratulations to the very talented folks who made it all possible.

Here in the City of Los Angeles, the built-out nature of the region means that infill builders have to be creative, providing the cues that today’s buyers want while also fitting in with the local community.  In the case of Trumark Homes’ SL70 in the Silverlake community north of the downtown area – winner of both Detached Community of the Year as well as Best Architectural Design of a Single Family Home Under 2,000 Sq. Ft. -- a lack of buildable land meant building up without losing the private spaces inherent in a detached unit.

To solve this conundrum, architect JZMK Partners came up with a unique plan in which the homes, which are built next to each other much like townhomes, still enjoy fee-simple ownership and structural independence for each unit, which also eliminates the need for an HOA while allowing up to 70 separate units on limited acreage.  Priced from the low $600,000s for up to nearly 1,800 square feet of living space, each home provides two-car garages, three levels of living space, plus outdoor terraces as well as some usable rooftop decks.  Targeted towards the hipsters with money who long ago put Silverlake on the map, the idea is to provide indoor-outdoor living without yards in a mature community that offers a very reasonable commute to jobs in the downtown core.

Meanwhile, less than ten miles to the west, builder Essex/Monarch hired Newman Garrison + Partners for its The Dylan mixed-use apartment project on the eastern edge of West Hollywood.  Winning Best Architectural Design for an Attached Community in an urban environment, this project overlooking Santa Monica Blvd. caters to the luxury apartment tenant for whom location and amenities are paramount.  On the ground floor, a ‘jewel box’ lobby opens out to a mix of local retail and food outlets along with a outdoor seating plaza.  Priced from over $2,000 to nearly $5,000 per month, the idea is to provide a resort-like environment in an urban setting with amenities such as a private screening room (with free wifi access for streaming online), a two-story clubhouse lounge, a fitness center that negates the need for a separate gym membership, and a rooftop terrace with another lounge, built-in BBQ grills and a wall suitable for showing outdoor movies.

Finally, in the old money community of Pasadena, builder City Ventures hired William Hezmalhalch Architects to address numerous constraints related to its Ambassador Gardens project on the former site of Ambassador College, which closed in 1997 and, with its existing mansions and garden areas, remains a popular venue for weddings and other public events.  Winning Best Architectural Design of an Attached Community, the Gardens took shape on 19 of the site’s 29 acres and involved repurposing a century-old estate surrounded by “Millionaire’s Row” mansions with existing high-quality appointments – as well as to please neighborhood groups and a City Hall demanding a high-quality development on a site with a rich, storied past.

Priced from the low $1 millions, the collection of flats and townhomes with hidden, underground parking along with service elevators were built to blend in with both the neighborhood and the local gardens by recreating the Craftsman, English Arts & Crafts style which has defined Pasadena for decades.  In addition, the restored Merritt Mansion, one of Pasadena’s cherished pieces of history, serves as the sales and design center and will be sold as a single-family home once sales have been completed.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Job growth remained robust in January

More good news on the job front!  From the L.A. Times:
The economy had another robust month of job growth in January, adding 257,000 net new positions and producing the best wage gains in more than six years…

The unemployment rate ticked up to 5.7%, but that was because 703,000 more people entered the labor force, a positive sign for the jobs market…

In addition to January's job growth, the Labor Department said the economy added an additional 147,000 net new jobs combined in November and December…

The upward revisions mean the U.S. economy added just over 1 million net new jobs in the three months ending Jan. 30, the first time that's happened since 1997...

To read the entire BLS press release, click here.

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 2/6/15


Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 2/6/15 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • 2015 job cut report; 40% of 53,041 cuts due to falling oil prices
  • Initial unemployment claims rise 11,000 in latest report, but 4-week average down by 6,500
  • Labor productivity fell by 1.8 percent in 4Q 2014 due to an increase in hours worked
  • Mortgage applications rise 1.3 percent in latest survey as rates dip
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 2/5/15

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 2/5/15 on the Web.

In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Private sector jobs rose by 213,000 in January
  • Manufacturing sector activity dipped in January but most industries seeing strong demand
  • Service sector activity rose in January; business conditions generally stable 
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

BuilderBytes' MetroIntelligence Economic Update for 2/3/15

Please click here to see the edition of BuilderBytes for 2/3/15 on the Web.


In this issue of the MetroIntelligence Economic Update, I covered the following indicators:
  • Consumer confidence rose in December to highest level since January 2007
  • Third quarter GDP growth falls to 2.6 percent in advance estimate
  • Chicago Business Barometer stabilized in January after two straight declines
  • Personal income rose in December as consumer spending dipped
  • Construction spending rose 0.4 percent in December; total spending in 2014 rose 5.6 percent
Want to advertise in the newsletter and reach over 130,000 readers? Contact National Sales Manager Nick Cosan at nkosan@penpubinc.com.