Here's a brief round-up of some important announcements heading our way this week:

  • September’s NAHB Home Builder Sentiment Survey on Wednesday (9/16): For three straight months, the National Association of Home Builders housing market index has hit 60 or above, landing at 61 in August. Right now, the index sits it sit at its highest level since November 2005. When the September’s numbers hit this Wednesday, Wall Street expects the index to hit 61, yet again.  

  • August Housing Starts on Wednesday (9/16): Just as the builders’ sentiment survey hit highs not seen since the mid 2000’s, housing starts hit their highest mark since October 2007. July’s adjusted annual pace of 1.21 million units, was a 0.2 percent increase over the month before. Wall Street predicts 1.2 million starts again though there would be a slight drop off (1,200,000 starts in July to an estimated 1,160,000 in August).

  • The winner's of this year's Builder’s Choice & Custom Home Design Awards will be announced in Builder Business Update on Wednesday (9/16): From lavish production homes to neighborhood-defining multifamily, this year's winners show that design can create better homes, better neighborhoods, and better environments.

  • Concealed Garages on Wednesday (9/16): The newest trend in architecture is to conceal garages -- so homeowners can balance the need for access and concealment of large objects while still maintaining an aesthetically pleasing public face. Builder's Jennifer Goodman gets five tips from garage designer Lance Jensen on how to camouflage the garage.

  • A look at DOE's Solar Energy Research Center on Thursday (9/17): Builder's Jennifer Goodman will take an in-depth look at the recently completed $59 million Solar Energy Research Center that has opened at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The 39,000-square-foot, three-story building is the new home for 100 researchers, most from the Department of Energy-funded Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), the nation’s largest research program dedicated to the development of an artificial solar-fuel generation technology.

  • Building Permits on Thursday (9/17): As starts rose in July, building permits actually fell 16.3 percent in July to a 1.12 million-unit pace. A 60% drop off in the Northeast pulled down by the expiration of tax incentives in New York explained much of the decline. Wall Street expects permits to rise to 1.13 million in August.