constructionThe good news? In the past year, 909,000 new single-family homes have been started, and it’s projected that by 2020 starts on new home construction will hit the one million mark. The bad news? The need will be for 1.2 million, a leading economist said Thursday.

“The forecast is that home prices will continue to outpace income growth,” Robert Dietz, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Economics and Housing Policy for the National Association of Home Builders said.

Dietz was part of a panel discussion about home building at the annual National Association of Real Estate Editors conference held this week in Las Vegas. Ben Caballero of HomesUSA.com and Jim Boyd of Toll Brothers were also in the panel. (more…)

The New American Home at the International Builders Show Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

The New American Home at the International Builders Show Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

Happy New Year everyone! This year is starting off at a record pace — people are building a new home at record levels. There’s something about getting to be the first one to live in a home, and having the opportunity to choose your own tile, cabinets, etc., that’s like nothing else. But are all home building experiences the same? Unfortunately not.

As a Lifestylist® who has owned her own construction and design company, I’ve spent lots of time working with builders constructing new model homes, and helping clients build their homes. Recently we helped a client work with a builder and realized there were things that could have made the process easier if she had known about them beforehand.  We’ve come up with a series of articles listing things you need to do so that you can really enjoy this exciting time in your life, and end up with the home of your dreams.

The first step, of course, is finding the perfect builder and location. And it can be one of the most challenging.

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La Casa del Viento (the Wind House), built in 2013 near Jalisco, Mexico, by Carlos Avila, with architect Ricardo Agraz, and plastic arts by Adrián Guerrero. All photos by Mito Covarrubias, except where noted.

Modern architecture in the North Texas area has lots of fans, but the range of houses offered can be limited. Often, they are custom-build or luxury only.

Cavso Homes is aiming to change that with their unique style of planning and building homes. They plan to offer eco-friendly, modern houses all over DFW, ranging from affordable to luxury.

“We plan keep doing single houses and townhouses, but in about two years, we are planning to build a complete complex,” said one of Cavso’s owners Carlos Avila. “We could talk about tons of statistics explaining why Dallas is the best place for Cavso Homes to start [in the U.S., but really], the Dallas Metroplex chose us!”

Cavso homes

Fabricio Solorio, Alberto Casillas, and Carlos Avila on site at a local Cavso home. Photo courtesy of Carlos Avila

The name Cavso Homes comes from the last names of its three owners, builder Alberto Casillas, project manager Carlos Avila, and business manager Fabricio Solorio. They are based out of Guadalajara, Mexico, and now call DFW home as they offer houses for sale (they have two completed houses in Irving and five future projects planned), custom homes, and their services as builders.

“The owners of Cavso Homes came together to create a different company with an integrated view of a home, and the goal of offering clients better living,” Casillas said. “We listen what clients have to say about their new house, analyze that, and take all of it into consideration for future designs. There is also a person who follows all the steps during the life of a project in order to understand a house like the unique project it is.”

Vivo Realty agent Kimberly Mitchell is working exclusively with Cavso Homes these days, and Vivo is doing all the marketing for the homes.

“Cavso Homes has a wonderful vision for bringing affordable modern homes to Dallas and not sacrificing quality and craftsmanship,” Mitchell said. “We think this is great because modern homes are generally thought of as a high-end product. We think this will be superb for Dallas!”

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One of Photo: Darling Homes

One of Larry Corson’s projects with Wilbow Corp. for 2015 is the Hunters Glen development in Flower Mound, with houses from Darling Homes (pictured above) and American Legend Homes. Photo: Darling Homes

Larry Corson is a key player in real estate investment and development in North Texas. Throughout his 30-year career, he has focused largely on residential developments and was recently named co-president of Wilbow Corporation, a privately held Dallas-based residential property developer.

Corson has guided the strategic acquisition of new properties throughout DFW, particularly in suburbs like Southlake, Colleyville, Flower Mound, Roanoke, Keller, McKinney, and Prosper. For example, as a director at Cooper & Stebbins, Corson led the development of the Garden District, a successful luxury enclave located in the Southlake Town Square area.

We sat down with Corson to get his insights on development in North Texas, the housing market, and his big projects for 2015.

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With Western Texas Intermediate oil hovering around $45 a barrel, folks have been speculating about new home construction in Midland-Odessa and how layoffs and budget cuts might affect the spectacular boom of the past few years.

But while economists might raise a red flag, local homebuilders say pent-up demand and a more diversified economy are keeping the phones ringing and people signing on for new home construction.

“The demand is still the same as it has always been—everyone wants their home built yesterday,” said KC White, owner and president of KC White Homes, Inc. “More people outside of the oil world are calling my phone. There are more than just oilfield-related jobs here.”

Read the whole story over on MidlandDirt.com!

New House under Construction

Recent reports show that new home sales are at their highest since 2008, while prices of existing homes are up year-over-year.

New home sales are up 17 percent from the same time last year, according to Residential Strategies, and new home starts are up 11.4 percent, too, at 6,511. Builders are trying to keep up with demand while also trying to keep new homes affordable for buyers, according to a story from Steve Brown:

“Start activity remains strong as builders maintain healthy sales backlogs and are working to reestablish depleted speculative inventory,” Residential Strategies’ Ted Wilson said in the report. “Robust job formation, in combination with tight housing inventories, has kept builders optimistic about sustained new housing demand.”

Rising new home prices have caused a slowdown in sales for some buyers.

Since 2007 the median price of a new home in North Texas has increased $69,000 – 33 percent – to $275,000.

“Affordability continues to be a primary concern for new home builders,” Wilson said.

“Many are anticipating that at some point down the road, interest rates will increase, and they want to ensure that their housing prices are still within reach of the consumer.”

Additionally, a new report from CoreLogic shows that the Dallas-Plano-Irving area is posting an 8.5 percent increase in home price appreciation according to the firm’s most recent HPI.

“Home prices continue to rise, albeit more slowly, across most of the U.S., ” said CoreLogic CEO Anand Nallathambi. “Major Metropolitan Areas such as Riverside and Los Angeles, California, and Houston continue to lead the way with strong price gains buoyed by tight supplies and a gradual rebound in economic activity.”

In Texas, that means we’re holding steady at our return-to-peak price levels, with no major increases. With new home construction up, a positive outlook for investors in several niche markets, and with prices still on the rise, are you optimistic about the Dallas/Fort Worth real estate market going into Q4 2014?

Brad Hunter MetrostudyThe big takeaway from this morning’s homebuilding panel at the National Association of Real Estate Editors spring conference is that land — more specifically, the lack thereof — is responsible for our lagging new home inventory and the dearth of new home starts in the nation. And while the pool of potential homebuyers is relatively large and stable, low inventory is driving prices up, making starter homes out of reach for many first-time homebuyers.

“Housing starts are down because land is not available where builders want to build,” said Metrostudy’s chief economist, Brad Hunter. “Builders are plowing golf courses under and building houses.”

According to Hunter, the new home market is no longer suffering from distressed properties and demand is improving, but tight inventory is a huge problem. According to his figures, the Dallas/Fort Worth region has just less than 3,000 units of available housing inventory, which is approximately seven weeks of supply. Yikes!

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Perhaps the new sign of fully recovered economy should be a McMansion? Or maybe our economy would be better judged by the size of the middle class?

In 2010, while we were still trying to figure out what went wrong with the federal stimulus and which bank was to blame for it all (answer: none of them, or all of them, or just Bear Stearns, depending on your perspective), Time wrote a piece on Aug. 20 entitled “The End of a Housing Era: McMansions Losing Their Luster.” The brief article starts with this interesting bit:

“New research delves into a harsh reality — with tough economic times in the background, large residences are no longer a given.”

I am pretty sure that large residences were never really a “given.” Still, let’s move on:

“Trulia.com’s 2010 American Dream survey notes that from 1950 to 2004, the average size of an American home jumped from from 983 square feet to 2,349 square feet.

But according a July 2010 Trulia-Harris interactive survey, that figure is poised to drop for the first time in six decades. Among individuals polled, only nine percent were looking in the McMansion range: a house covering at least 3,000 square feet, built in proximity to other palaces. In contrast, 64 percent of those polled were looking for dream homes of 800-2,600 square feet.”

Now, 800 to 2,600 square feet is by no means a small range, and even at the low end, 800 square feet is a far cry from a trendy “tiny home.” But, houses were getting smaller, Time said, and the economy wasn’t nearly as forgiving as it was in 2004.

But in a piece in the New York Times this weekend entitled “McMansions Are Making a Comeback,” we see the sprawling suburban home holding fast to the ropes, giving it the old college try, and truly pulling off a Rocky-esque revival.

“When the housing bubble burst in 2007, there was a glut of unsold inventory on the market, and the size of newly built homes began to shrink. In both 2008 and 2009, Census Bureau figures show, the median size of a new home was smaller than it had been the previous year. It seemed that after more than a decade of swelling domiciles, the McMansion era was over. But that conclusion may have been premature.

In 2010, homes starting growing again. By last year, the size of the median new single-family home hit a record high of 2,306 square feet, surpassing the peak of 2007. And new homes have been getting more expensive, too. The median price reached $279,300 in April this year, or about 6 percent higher than the pre-recession peak of $262,600, set in March 2007. The numbers are not adjusted for inflation.”

But how are people buying these homes, if the economy is, as the article in the NYT claims, “weak”? NAHB’s Rose Quint says that people who can get a loan, an altogether evaporating pool of Americans, are fueling the numbers behind home sales.

“People who are less affluent and have less robust employment histories have been shut out of the new home market. As a result, the characteristics of new homes are being skewed to people who can obtain credit and put down large down payments, typically wealthier buyers.”

So, what do you glean from all this? Is it that the economy is recovering and housing is reaching a natural equilibrium? Or is it that the size of homes skews toward the wealthy, which means fewer people are able to buy homes due to a shrinking middle class?