The Case For Going Green in Home Building

The wave of the future is green construction

I started being involved in the hombuilding industry back in 2000 in Southern California.  At that time, the “green” concept was still in its infancy.  Many of the concepts had been around for a number of years.  And I feel like many home buyers wanted energy efficient homes.  Although there was a fair amount of clamoring for this, the research showed (through both internal studies as well as outside studies) that the value was just not there.  It would have cost significantly more to include energy efficient aspects in the design and features of the homes than buyers were willing to pay for them.

The value proposition started to shift, albeit slightly, a few years later when California started to experience rolling blackouts, intentionally engineered electrical power shutdowns where electricity delivery is stopped for non-overlapping periods of time over geographical regions that was mainly do the insufficient generation capacity in regards to demand. Read more of this post

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The State of Downtown Raleigh

Downtown RaleighWant to get nearly 300 business people, executives, and politicians in one place on a Wednesday morning?  Do an official “State of the Union” type forum and invite a Senior Director from a tech savvy company,an Executive VP, for a large hospitality group, and a newly appointed Economic Development Manager.

Well, that is exactly what happened yesterday at Downtown Raleigh 2012: An Economic Forum held by Downtown Raleigh Alliance. Read more of this post

Economic, Construction, and Real Estate News

We have had a lot of economic, construction and real estate related news in the past few days.  Instead of looking at just one of them in a vacuum, I am going to highlight many of them.

    • Nationally, consumer sentiment rose to 70.8 in February from 61.5 in January, achieving a sizable improvement. Consumers’ expectations rose to 88.0 from 76.7, while their views on current conditions increased to 45.0 from 38.8.  See the full story here.
    • Whouse constructionarren Buffett says along with equities, single-family homes are a very attractive investment right now, based on a CNBC interview.  He believes that the market is getting back into a situation that if the homes are held for a long period of time and purchased at low rates, the houses are even better than stocks.
    • An article in the Triangle Business Journal states that economic activity appears to be picking up across North Carolina, with fewer people filing first-time claims for state jobless benefits and forecasters predicting a bounce in new housing starts by 2013.

There have been a number of stories in the past several days about the local construction and real estate industries.  Some of it was good and some of it was not.

  • One of the negative stories was the report on the change of the Triangle’s construction industry employment figures.  I feel like we all logically knew this.  However, the numbers show that the Triangle peaked in December 2007 when payrolls were hitting 40,400. Then came the contraction.  By December 2011, according to Virginia-based Associated General Contractors of America, Triangle payrolls had dropped 30 percent to 35,300.  (Check out the full article here).
  • California-based commercial real estate firm Grubb & Ellis filed for bankruptcy.  Grubb & Ellis does have an affiliate in the Triangle.  It appears that Grubb & Ellis will be bought by New York-based BCG Partners Inc. as part of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process.  There is no news of how this will affect the local affiliate.
  • The residential market update for 2011 from Birch Appraisal Group was released showing 2011 average prices and percent to assessed value by jurisdiction for Wake County.  Cary had the highest average price and Apex had the highest percentage.  Garner came in with the lowest in both categories.
  • Preston Development looking at 7,108 acres for Chatham Park, a masterplanned community that mixes the golf course and executive homes of Prestonwood and business hubs of Research Triangle Park.  The idea is to essentially develop a RTP 2.0.

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

Interstates Help Spur Housing Growth

Interstate spurs housing growth

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Last week the News & Observer had an article that discussed the increase in residential construction permits in the local municipalities of Apex and Holly Springs due to the I-540 extension that is currently nearing completion.  You can read the full article here.

Although this may be news to the general public, construction and development companies (both residential and commercial) have been looking at new and growing traffic corridors as they continue to explore areas for development.  New  interstates and highways are a critical component in this.  Study after study has shown that people want easy accessibility as a determination to where they decide to live. 

Typically, housing developments, due to their shorter development timeframe, can be completed before the corridors are opened up.  Because of this, the housing that is developed and sold before the corridor opens up is less expensive than a similar community opened up afterwards.  To do this, modern technologies like GIS (Geographic Information System) programs has helped find key areas of development that get ahead of the interstate and thoroughfare growths to make their communities attractive to perspective buyers.  Some larger developers and builders already use this technology.  However, smaller ones can to by finding local sources that are already using GIS for other purposes and use them to leverage their knowledge and abilities.

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies.  He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes.  He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research.  He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“.  If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

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