I’m a wee skeptical of The National Association of Home Builders 2018 survey of “thousands of U.S. homebuyers” for must-haves.

I have no doubt these things were tops on consumer’s wish list, and were accurately reported. I just think housing preferences are more regional. And this list is too national. 

These are features buyers ranked as most likely to be required in a house:  (more…)

Just like school children, shades need recesses too.

Don’t let reports of a real estate slowdown (actually more of a return to normalcy) convince you that new homes aren’t being built – especially new, expensive homes. Having toured a few newly built homes listed above $1 million, I am surprised at what’s missing. I’m not talking about mink toilet seats and diamond-studded coffee makers. I mean more pedestrian things.

Here’s my unofficial list of relatively cheap things that should “just be there” in newly constructed homes over $1 million.

Recessed Motorized Shades

I’m nowhere near $1 million and I have motorized shades. Luckily, the original builder put in the necessary ceiling recesses where the shades can be slotted into for a smooth ceiling line. Back in the 1960s when my place was built, those recesses pushed curtain tops up so that light bleeds were minimized and rooms (especially bedrooms) were darker. During my renovation, all I had to do was get electricity up there (fairly easy when the walls are open).

In a new-build home, if the builder isn’t going to install the motorized shades themselves, it’s a pittance to put an electric outlet into window frame recesses. Buyers in this range should be looking for such things.

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Once again, Frisco makes national Real Estate news, not for being the very best community to live, or the fastest-growing community in the U.S., but for being oversupplied with brand new homes as the real estate market shifts from a seller’s paradise to a buyer’s market, and as new home sales dip nationwide by almost 9 percent:

The shift may be most pronounced in what were once the most sizzling markets. Consider Frisco, Texas, a city 30 miles north of Dallas, where narrowly spaced villas of stone and brick have replaced cow pastures. Its population nearly doubled over the past decade, to 177,000. Its 8 percent jump last year made it the fastest-growing city in America.

Prashant Gopal is an excellent journalist and a friend of our’s from NAREE. He writes in Bloomberg of how falling sales and diving housing stocks are also affecting real estate agents in Frisco, who seem to be taking the biggest hits from each other as they shrink commissions in the “builder battleground”:

On a recent weekday, Konara, the real estate broker, drives his Dodge minivan along Highway 380, a builder battleground, where national giants such as Lennar, Toll Brothers, and PulteGroup go head to head with Texas companies. He stops at sales offices, where balloons festoon posts in a vain effort to spur sales. He points to empty houses that he says were completed six months ago.

His own sales are half what they were in 2016. In many cases, he’s rebating to customers all but $1,000 of his commission on each home sale. He walks into an Indian restaurant for lunch and looks up at the television screen. A competitor, the “Maximum Cash Back Realtor,” says he’ll take only $750. “You know what that means,” Konara says. “I’ll have to do the same.”

Prashant drew attention to the fact that Frisco is also home to the glittering Legacy West, transplant nirvana with Toyota headquarters (which may have subsidized some homes for employees) as well as Dallas Cowboys headquarters, where any day you can see real estate agents dining alongside football players and the Jones family. I believe the agents he is talking to, like Konara, but I also had to check with the man who’s company sells more of Frisco than anyone: J.P. Piccinini:

JP and Associates

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This green roof in Germany is a perfect example of how more buildings are becoming sustainable.

Matt Smith
Special Contributor

As in fashion, there are also some popular trends in the roofing industry. Sustainability is one, and in the next year, homeowners across the planet will be building new homes, and each will need a well-constructed, functional, aesthetically correct roof. If the roof is made of eco-friendly material – even better!

Sustainability went from the margins to the mainstream big time during past few years. It is nothing new, yet it is growing more popular. The idea of being energy independent, spending less on electricity, and reducing the level of carbon emission seems like a triple win situation.

You don’t have to be clairvoyant to see that when building roofs, constructors will be inspired by nature in 2018. The emphasis will be on the green building materials and the style which imitates the artwork of one of the world’s top designers – Mother Nature. Solar panels and living green roofs will become a much more common sight.

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State of the Industry Summit Logo-V2_312551211

The economic climate in Dallas and in the nation has shone a light on the challenges our region faces: labor shortages, tight housing supply, and steadily increasing home prices. What does the future look like considering the conditions today?

Find out that and more during the Dallas Builders Association “State of the Industry” Summit from 9 to 11:30 a.m. April 13 at the Crowne Plaza in Addison. Registration, which is open now on the DBA website, includes breakfast compliments of StrucSure Home Warranty. The event — a general meeting for DBA members — will include a panel discussion from top industry professionals led by Meyers Research. You’ll find the answers to the burning questions coursing through the industry’s minds:

  • When will the labor shortage ease up?
  • What role will millennials play in the Dallas market?
  • How has President Trump’s first 100 days impacted housing?
  • How will the rising interest rates, land prices and material cost impact housing affordability?

Jump to find out more about the esteemed panel of experts:

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Huge crowds at the recent Design and Construction Week in Orlando, Florida Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

Huge crowds at the recent Design and Construction Week in Orlando, Florida Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

This year is off to an exciting, fast-paced start! This Lifestylist® has spent the month traveling coast to coast in search of design and construction trends that we’ll see a lot of in 2017. After attending the International Builders Show, Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, Design and Construction Week, The Dallas Home and Gift Market, and the winter Las Vegas Market we’ve got a lot to talk about! Here are our favorites that we can expect to be see in a home near you. (more…)