Entries in Home Construction (11)


Home Construction Falls 8.5 Percent

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Housing starts fell 8.5 percent in January, a surprising drop after they jumped 15.7 percent during the previous month, according to the Commerce Department.

Though the housing market has recovered since 2008, privately-owned housing starts amounted to 890,000 last month, below the revised estimate of 973,000 private housing starts in December.  The current level is still 23.6 percent above that of January 2012.

Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist with High Frequency Economics, said the level was still up significantly from 851,000 in November.

“The pattern is consistent with a continued uptrend, with December exaggerated by milder-than-usual winter weather,” Sullivan said in a note.

“We suspect the index is just pausing, but that remains to be seen,” he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Shortage of Construction Workers as Housing Market Improves

 iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Construction jobs are coming back, but where are the workers?  

The revival of the housing market and commercial real estate has many contractors scrambling to find qualified workers.

“The crunch is affecting a handful of states, including Texas, Arizona, Iowa and Florida,” says USA Today.  “It’s expected to worsen across the USA over the next few years.”

Contractors reportedly are raiding each other's job sites in some states to look for workers who either left the field, retired or moved somewhere else.  It’s a problem that could spread as the economy improves.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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


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


Home Construction Rose by 14.6% in June

Karl Weatherly/Digital Vision/ Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Builders broke ground on 14.6 percent more homes in June than they did in May, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce's latest report on housing starts released Tuesday.

The report finds that construction began last month on a seasonally-adjusted rate of 629,000 new homes across the country, with 453,000 of them being single-family homes.

While the housing starts represent just half the number needed to signal a healthy housing market, it shows the sector is on the rebound.

"It's very good news. It's in both single-family and multi-family. It's also broad-based.  It's across all of the regions. So it's good to see this kind of increase," says Robert Denk, a senior economist at the National Association of Home Builders.

"We expect the trend to be upward...That doesn't preclude that we'll see some volatility, that we might see these numbers go up and down.  But today's increase is definitely a good sign," he adds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Home Construction Sees Biggest Increase in Six Months

Karl Weatherly/Digital Vision/ Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Home construction is picking up from very low levels so far this year, according to the latest figures from the Commerce Department.

The agency reported Tuesday that home construction rose 7.2 percent in March, marking the biggest increase in six months.  Building permits for future construction also rose more than 11 percent.

Robert Denk, with the National Association of Home Builders, said the numbers are improving but are still well below healthy levels.

"It's good news that they're getting better, but they're still at very low levels, and we're expecting going forward to see gradual improvement," Denk said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Home Construction Jumped in January

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Home construction skyrocketed in January, growing at the fastest pace in 20 months, but single-family starts stayed virtually level and the market remains slow-growing.

Apartment building starts leaped by 80 percent and David Crowe, Chief Economist at the National Association of Home Builders in Washington, says this spike is not unusual and is due to the way the survey is done. "Total housing starts were up almost fifteen per cent in January, but that increase was almost entirely due to increases in apartment construction."

Crowe believes the market will stay weak for awhile and says, "Until the consumer has a little more confidence in the future, until there's a more sustained positive growth, then I think the momentum will build and we'll see better housing towards the latter part of this year and into 2012."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Construction Spending Hits Decade Low

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Construction spending in December fell to its lowest level in a decade, according to figures released by the Department of Commerce Tuesday.

The spending fell 2.5 percent in December while annual construction spending in the U.S. fell to $814 billion, the lowest level since July 2000.

Home building is expected to make a slow rebound amid foreclosures and unemployment. Spending on private construction fell 2.2 percent from November to December as homebuilding outlays dropped 4.1 percent.

Weather may also have played a factor in the December decline in home construction as December was one of the snowiest months on record.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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