Hello Readers in print and online,
As summer winds down and we head into the fall, there is no sign of home prices falling. Persistent demand and low supply continue to drive home prices higher. CoreLogic Case-Shiller reports prices are up 41% past the previous high water mark, set back in 2006. National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun reports pending home sales dropped 1.8% in July from June and suggests the market may be cooling slightly. 30-year fixed mortgage rates fell sharply in July from 3.8% to 2.84%, however rising prices may be keeping some buyers at bay.
Building materials costs, the most expensive building component after land and labor, have declined steadily, led by a drop in lumber, which had risen by 400% in some cases. Don’t anticipate a drop in house prices, as builders seek to recover profit margins lost due to unbudgeted materials costs increases. Housing economists suggest house prices will continue to rise as demand continues, driven by popular moves away from big cities to less populated urban areas, inspired by the pandemic’s influence on working from home, family, health, wellness and what some are calling the “great population rotation.”
This September issue, #358 is our 5th of 6 issues that promote and showcase housing sustainability themes. Our builders in the issue are making broader moves in this direction, as are the materials suppliers, whose products and services appear on these pages. Some debate has arisen over the proposed further electrification of the California residential building code for 2022, Title 24, set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2022. The move to drive fossil fuels from new homes is near and dear to California’s legislators and some stakeholder industries, although a number of folks are raising questions about the added costs to housing such a move presents. The debate continues. Bearing in mind, what happens in California T-24 often migrates elsewhere, making this one worth watching.
There is no escaping the impact the increasingly terrible fires in the West, floods in the East and global warming climate have on our daily lives. Although, as I potter about my own kitchen garden here in Newport Beach, Calif., digging up seashells from eons ago, I am reminded my own home was once on the sea bed, so that debate rages on, too.
Our 2021 Building Materials Brand Survey is now being conducted online on our web platforms. Home Depot gift cards are being provided to our survey participant winners, drawn at random at the conclusion of the survey. The survey has been broken into two sections, one dealing with products that shape the building envelope and sustainable home building, the other more traditional building materials and interiors specific. You are not required to complete both to participate and yes, you can vote for your own materials. Results will be published in the Holiday, Annual Awards themed editions of Builder and Developer and Green Home Builder and across our websites bdmag.com and greenhomebuildermag.com and e-newsletters, builderbytes.com and greenhomebytes.com
Work hard, enjoy the Fall season and thank you as always for the privilege of your readership.