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.
What’s Complex Isn’t Complicated Once You Draw a Process Map
Judith Miller / October 2014
Think of this summer’s rush of work as the meal conceived of and planned in the dreary light of February and March. Now that we’ve eaten it, our stomachs are full, and as the bright light of summer fades, reality once again sets in. If you’re like many remodelers I work with, you’re concerned about work in November and December; few of my clients have backlogs of contracted work that would last longer than 4 months or that would provide one-third of annual volume. So, what does 2015 look like? “Hard to tell” is the right answer, given the complexities involved in economic predictions.Read More
Top 4 Obstacles and Boosters for New Home Construction
Brad Hunter / Builder / October 17, 2014
Housing starts rose by 6.3% in September, which places activity 17.8% above September of last year, according to the government report just released at 8:30. Metrostudy’s view about the housing recovery remains unchanged. The total for 2014 will be little changed from 2013, but activity should increase in 2015. The Top 4 Obstacles Mortgage Availability There are still people who *should* be able to get mortgages who cannot (particularly those who work on commissions or bonuses, or are self-employed). Rental Millennials They have yet to help household formation rates, because thoseRead More
John McManus / BUILDER / September 5, 2014
Let’s look at what presently consumes our field of focus. It’s a big question wrapped in a two-word package: What next? We’ll address the question, but not before we call to mind a sharp little turn of phrase from a best-selling novel we managed to read during our own summer reprieve, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. (Yes, we’re a year behind the rest of the world in many things.) Among a handful of lines that nag after reading the book, like a sinfully delicious chocolate treat, is this one: “The magic point where every idea and its opposite are equally true.”
The ring of this phrase couldRead More
Brad Hunter / Metrostudy / August 11, 2014
We have been talking for years about the lot shortages that builders are facing. Now, it’s time to talk about how many lots are being developed. Builders and developers are now playing “catch-up,” with builders buying land and lots and developers/investors paving roads and putting in infrastructure to serve the builders’ needs at a frenetic pace.
The pace of lot delivery (completion, ready for the builder) has gone up 140% in the past two years, much faster than the pace of housing production has risen (+84%). Despite this increased pace, lot development STILL lags the pace ofRead More
Brad Hunter, chief economist of housing-research firm Metrostudy in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, says data collected by his company “flies in the face” of government statistics that showed weak housing starts in the second quarter. Hunter talks with Bloomberg’s Tom Keene and Michael McKee on Bloomberg Radio’s “Bloomberg Surveillance.”Read More
Brad Hunter / Metrostudy / October 30, 2013
Construction markets are showing signs of building momentum nationwide. Inquiries with architecture firms are up, construction spending is up, and inventories of new homes are dwindling but demand continues to rise. So what’s stopping you from diving in and taking your business to the next level?
If you’re like everyone else, you’re probably skiddish about the stability of the market. You’re still aching from the hangover of the recession. What’s going to get you back in the saddle? Metrostudy’s Brad Hunter spoke with HW.com about the lessonsRead More
Jean Dimeo / BUILDER / September 26, 2013
The recovery brought with it larger new houses. Why?
During the recession, many Americans—reeling from downsized paychecks and declining home values—scaled back their super-sized lifestyles. Sales of giant SUVs and four-door pickup trucks fell, new-home sizes shrunk, recent graduates moved back home with mom and dad, and newlyweds stayed in rental apartments. How quickly we forget the recent past.
Commerce Department data shows that the average size of a new home was 2,647 square feet during the second quarter of 2013, eclipsing the record of 2,561 square feet set in the first quarterRead More