News & Opinions
The latest news and insights from Hanley Wood’s outspoken experts and key thought-leaders throughout the residential and commercial design and construction industry.
New Mortgage Rules May Mean Less Choice for Home Buyers
Les Christie / CNNMoney.com / December4, 2013
Beginning Jan. 10, banks have to ensure that monthly mortgage payments are affordable, a result of the Dodd Frank law passed in 2010. The failure to do so carries strict penalties. “My concern is that we’re going to be in an environment where some lenders are too small to comply,” said David Stevens, CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association. During the housing bubble, some banks issued loans without even checking applicants’ income or assets. Under the new rules, lenders must carefully determine that borrowers have the ability to repay their loans. That means, forRead More
NAHB: December Leading Markets Index Up
NAHB Eye on Housing Blog / December 5, 2013
The NAHB/First American Leading Markets Index rose slightly to .86 in December index from .85 in the November index. The index measures progress back to and beyond the normal level of economic and housing growth. In addition to the national index, the release also lists the value of progress toward normal for 351 metropolitan areas. In December, 54 metros were at or above a value of one meaning those markets had returned to or were above their last normal levels of single-family housing permits, home prices and employment. For purposes of this index, the last normal period was 2000- 2003Read More
John Crosby / HW.com / November 6, 2013
Remodeling and replacement projects continue to come in stronger than originally expected based on the latest release of the Residential Remodeling Index (RRI) by Metrostudy, a Hanley Wood company. The seasonally adjusted third quarter national composite of the RRI registered a score of 93.3, which was a 2 percent improvement over the upwardly revised second quarter result of 91.3.
The increase quarter-to-quarter was the seventh consecutive improvement after the industry experienced declines in 2011 and bottomed out after peaking in 2007. As housing fundamentals began turning theRead More
Blaine Brownell / ARCHITECT / October 2013
Overcome by Jørn Utzon’s design for the Sydney Opera House, Louis Kahn once remarked, “The sun did not know how beautiful its light was until it was reflected off this building.” Forty years after its opening, one of the world’s most recognizable works of architecture is undergoing a gentle transformation—an incremental remodeling—that is bringing the public icon closer in alignment to its creator’s original vision.
Day or night, the atmosphere in the Opera House is animated by the energy exuded by the throngs of visitors. The nonstop activity, combined with the ongoingRead More
John Crosby / HW.com / October 22, 2013
The U.S. Department of Commerce reported today that construction spending hit a near 4-1/2 year high in August, boosted by increases in both private and public outlays, a hopeful sign for third-quarter economic growth.
Construction spending increased 0.6 percent to an annual rate of $915.1 billion, the highest level since April 2009.
Private residential construction spending jumped 1.2 percent to a five-year high, showing little sign that high interest rates were slowing activity. Part of the increase in residential construction spending reflected home improvement projects. PrivateRead More
Hallie Busta / ARCHITECT / October 11, 2013
The Hurricane Sandy recovery is inciting information sharing among the New York architecture community and design teams worldwide, says one of the architects leading the effort.
Illya Azaroff, AIA, is among a growing group of architects actively looking aboard for resilient design strategies to employ at home. The Nebraska native and founder of New York architectural studio +LAB was tapped earlier this year by the AIA’s New York chapter to head the region’s recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy. Before that, he’d helped found and chair the association’sRead More
David Crowe / NAHB / October 3, 2013
Recent data concerning consumer and builder confidence suggest that at the end of the summer a pause occurred with respect to economic improvement. Adding to this is the uncertainty associated with the shutdown of the federal government. Besides the direct impact from lost or delayed government services, the shutdown is also a warning concerning the impending political debate regarding the debt ceiling, an issue which could have significantly larger economic impacts, including higher interest rates.
Direct impacts from the ongoing shutdown include possible delays in FHA-insured single-familyRead More