Entries in Home Building (5)


New Home Construction Up 2.6%

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In yet another sign that the U.S. housing market is slowly improving, the Commerce Department announced on Wednesday that builders broke ground on more new homes last month.

The agency said home construction rose to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 717,000 homes in April.  That's up 2.6 percent from the month before and more than what economists had anticipated.

Robert Denk, a senior economist at the National Association of Home Builders, says the better-than-expected figure is encouraging.

"I think this is potentially a very good number.  This bodes well for the summer.  Things really can -- we expect the activity to pick up as the year unfolds," he says.

"Conditions are right.  Prices are low, mortgage rates are low; consumers are really sort of regaining their confidence," Denk adds.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Builders Take Up US-Made Homes Pledge

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The American-made home that Anders Lewendal set out to construct in October 2011 is complete -- and has started quite a movement across the U.S.

"We're amazed.  We've had calls and emails and hundreds and hundreds of builders and homeowners, company owners, politicians," he told ABC News.  "We're glad the movement's had some momentum behind it."

In Bozeman, Mont., Lewendal, an economist-turned-builder, constructed a house made entirely from U.S.-made products -- from the nails, screws and bolts to the staples and the bathtub.  The house was built with more than 120 products from more than 33 states.

"The house is done and every part of it is made in America," he said.  "I can say there's only two things we could not find that's produced in this country.  It's a microwave oven and a door chime.  Neither of which are important for my client anyways in this house."

Lewendal maintained last year that if every builder bought just 5 percent more U.S.-made materials, 220,000 jobs would be created.

From Gorilla Tape of Cincinnati to a Sherwin-Williams plant in Georgia and a Moen plant in Pennsylvania, companies around the country agreed that if builders bought more American products, they would put people back to work.

So far, builders have been following Lewendal's lead, even signing petitions and contracts pledging to build with 5 percent more American products, including Maze nails, which are produced in Peru, Ill.

But others went a step further in the Made in America cause.  Currently, all-American homes are being built or have been completed in Montana, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Florida and Virginia.

In Bullard, Texas, builders Gary Bayless and Joe Runnels from Bayless Custom Homes constructed their first all-American house.

Gerald Rowlett in Lake Oswego, Ore., said the day he and his team finished their American-made home, they celebrated by singing "The Star-Spangled Banner."

And in Spokane, Wash., home builder Corey Condron broke ground in March on a house using only American-made products.  He said the nails were from the East Coast and the flooring was from Idaho -- even the bath fixtures were made in the U.S.

Lewendal said that he set about building the Bozeman, Mont., home to prove that making all-American homes is "easy to do."

"The idea is to get one all-American home built in every state in the union," he said. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Home Builders Hopeful for Housing Market Turnaround in 2012

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The housing market is still weak, but there's hope among home builders that it will get stronger in 2012.

As it stands, mortgage rates are currently cheaper than ever -- 30 year fixed rates average less than 3.9 percent.  While that sounds promising for borrowers, David Crowe of the National Association of Home Builders notes that getting a loan isn't that easy.

"They will continue to have some difficulty in getting mortgage credit; it's tighter than it used to be," he says.

Yet, banks have started to lend more, and despite a drop in December, more homes are being built -- trends that Crowe expects to see more of this year.

"We've been on a relatively steady but slow increase for the better half of 2011 and I expect that to continue in 2012," he says.

Another added bonus that may boost the housing market: the supply of new unsold homes has come down.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Housing Starts Rise by 9.3%, Highest Level Since April 2010

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Builders broke ground on 9.3 percent more homes in November than they did in October, marking the highest increase in housing starts since April 2010, according to the latest government report released Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Commerce says construction began last month on a seasonally-adjusted rate of 685,000 new homes across the country, with 447,000 of them being single-family homes.  The figure exceeded economists' expectations, who, according to a Bloomberg survey, predicted housing starts would have fallen between 600,000 to 655,000.

Furthermore, in a sign of future home construction, the report also shows that building permits rose in November, jumping to 681,000 -- a 5.7 percent increase from October.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Made in America Buildings: A Blueprint for Creating Jobs

ABC News(BOZEMAN, Mont.) -- In Bozeman, Mont., Anders Lewendal is hard at work building a home he hopes will be a blueprint for creating jobs in America.

Lewendal, an economist turned builder, is constructing a house made entirely from U.S.-made products. Everything from the nails, screws and bolts, to the steel, staples, and bathtub is made in the United States.

"Every piece here is made in America," he said.

Lewendal is convinced that if every builder bought just 5 percent more U.S.-made materials, they would create 220,000 jobs. The Boston Consulting Group agrees, confirming that Lewendal's numbers add up.

In all, the U.S.-made house is being built with more than 120 products from more than 33 states. But builders do acknowledge that using American products can be more expensive.

A box of nails is $5 more than those made in China and steel is $146 more a bundle. Even though certain goods are more expensive, in total, the cost of the house is nearly identical, given that other U.S.-made products are cheaper. The all-American home, which is not yet finished, is running only 1 to 2 percent more than a foreign-sourced house.

While some items might be more expensive, the difference in quality is often noticeable. The nails produced by Maze Nails of Peru, Ill., are made using high-carbon steel and a double coat of zinc. The result is that they are stronger, rust proof, and jam the nail gun less.

"[We're] one of the last makers of nails in this country," said company president Roelif Loveland.

About 90 percent of nails come from China and, Loveland said, if he could double sales, he could add 25 more jobs.

Many other U.S. companies said the same thing. If Lewendal's idea catches on, they could hire, too. From Gorilla Tape of Cincinnati to a Sherwin-Williams paint plant in Georgia and a Moen faucet factory in Pennsylvania, companies around the country say if builders bought more American products, it would put people back to work.

ABC News sent Lewendal's list to builders across the country and some responded immediately.

Contractor Tarek Saad said he started ordering Maze Nails, an architect in Miami said she'll start buying the U.S.-made items that are priced the same as the foreign ones, and Paul Minnis, a remodeler from Michigan, doubled Lewendal's request.

"If 5 percent will make a difference," he wrote, "I am going to try for 10 percent or more American-made products."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio