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Builder Confidence Remains on Solid Footing

Posted by on Apr 5, 2018 in News

By Robert Dietz on March 15, 2018 •  Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes edged down one point to a level of 70 in March from a downwardly revised February reading on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This is the fourth consecutive month at or above a level of 70 for the HMI, an indication of strong single-family housing market conditions. Builders’ optimism continues to be fueled by growing consumer demand for housing and confidence in the market. A strong labor market, rising incomes and a growing economy are boosting demand for homeownership even as interest rates rise. However, builders are reporting challenges in finding buildable lots, which could limit their ability to meet this demand. Managing construction costs and future sales prices will be a key challenge in medium-term as costs associated with both land development and home construction continue to increase. Nonetheless, with positive economic fundamentals in place, the single-family sector should continue to make gains at a gradual pace in the months ahead. Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor. The HMI component gauging current sales conditions held steady at 77, the chart measuring sales expectations in the next six months dropped two points to 78, and the index gauging buyer traffic fell three points to 51. Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast rose one point to 57, the South decreased one point to 73, the West fell two points to 79, and the Midwest dropped four points to 68. The HMI tables can be found...

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HERS Amendment Puts Smaller Homes on Level Playing Field

Posted by on Apr 3, 2018 in News

HERS Amendment Puts Smaller Homes on Level Playing Field Filed in Codes and Regulations by NAHB Now on April 3, 2018 • The RESNET Standards Development Committee has approved an amendment that puts smaller homes on equal ground in terms of achieving a lower — or more efficient — Home Energy Rating System score. Historically, smaller homes have been disadvantaged relative to the HERS Index ratings for average and larger homes. Stakeholders seem pleased with the amendment, which incorporates a house size adjustment factor so that calculations are more accurate and result in a score that better reflects energy savings no matter the square footage. “I am in favor of the change,” said Thom Marston, regional manager at Energy Services Group, a Maryland-based residential energy conservation company. “Anything that brings the standard to parity between small and large homes should be applauded. No building should have an unfair advantage over another.” RESNET Executive Director Steve Baden says that the accredited HERS software programs used to calculate the scores must implement the change by July 1. All HERS raters must use the new version by Jan. 1, 2019, giving raters a transition period. RESNET plans to submit the amendment for the 2021 IECC codes cycle so the code will reference the updated standard. For additional information about NAHB high-performance building initiatives, contact Jaclyn Toole at 800-368-5242...

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