Homebuilder sentiment was strong at the end of 2021 according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This is good news for the home building market despite the inflation scares and material shortages. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) reported the builder sentiment in the market for newly-built single-family homes moved one point higher to 84 in December.

As for the regions, the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores rose in all of the four regions. Both the West and South saw an increase to 87, and the Northeast and Midwest both were are 74. The seasonally adjusted rates for the four regions were the highest in the South at 89, in the West 87, in the Northeast 79, and in the Midwest at 74.

“While demand remains strong, finding workers, predicting pricing and dealing with material delays remains a challenge,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke. “Policymakers need to work on supply chain improvements and controlling costly inflation. Addressing lumber tariffs would be a good place to start.”

“The most pressing issue for the housing sector remains lack of inventory,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Building has increased but the industry faces constraints, namely cost/availability of materials, labor and lots. And while 2021 single-family starts are expected to end the year 24% higher than the pre-Covid 2019 level, we expect higher interest rates in 2022 will put a damper on housing affordability.”

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This welcoming front porch is a nice covered area and outdoor living space. There is a nice brick paver flooring on this porch.

This family room has custom built-ins that feature shelves and cabinets. The built-ins surround the fireplace on each side.The last months of 2021 saw a great gain in single-family permits in the housing industry. In the first ten months of the year, nationwide single-family permits totaled 948,321. Year-to-date (YTD) this shows a 17.3% increase from October 2020.

Each region had increases in single-family permits issued. The South reported the highest increase of 19.1%, next was the Northeast at 18.5%, the West at 15.6% and the Midwest came in with the smallest increase at 12.4%. Multifamily also saw an increase across all four regions. The West the most at 38.6%, Midwest 30.3%, the South at 23.8% and the Northeast at 15.5%.

At the local level, below are the top 10 metro areas that issued the highest number of single-family permits:

Metropolitan Statistical Area Single-family Permits: (Units #YTD, NSA)
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 44,342
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 43,012
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 30,013
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 27,283
Austin-Round Rock, TX 20,895
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 16,613
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 16,310
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 15,006
Jacksonville, FL 13,809
Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 13,766


For multifamily permits, below are the top 10 local areas that issued the highest number of permits:

Metropolitan Statistical Area Single-family Permits: (Units #YTD, NSA)
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 34,380
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 22,782
Austin-Round Rock, TX 21,925
 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellvue, WA 17,305
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anheim, CA 16,880
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 13,345
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 12,959
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL 12,771
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 12,671
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 12,499

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This welcoming front porch is a nice covered area and outdoor living space. There is a nice brick paver flooring on this porch.

The housing market is booming and inventory is still low. Developers want to take advantage of this on some wetlands just west of Lewisburg Estates close to Mandeville. The wetlands are located at the mouth of the Chinchuba Bayou flood plan that is made up of marsh grasses and cypress trees.

The current landowners have applied for a coastal use permit through St. Tammany parish. This coast permit would allow them to fill in the wetland site and lake bottom. Their plan is to add a bulkhead and a private road. This would be the first step in developing the land for future homesites.

Many in the community are distraught about the thought of future development on the wetlands. Filling the lake in would lead to flooding and change the ecological landscape that could hurt the community.

According to John Lopez, a coastal scientist who reviewed the permit for the development for the Lewisburg Civic Association, says that it could cause flooding in the Mandeville area. He confirmed that the wetlands are healthy enough to allow cypress trees to grow but should not be developed.

He reported that if the wetland is developed, the filled land would slow down the water’s exit from the Bayou Chinchuba watershed into Lake Pontchartrain. A bulkhead could also exacerbate erosion in adjacent areas.

State environmental agencies also report a negative impact. The filled land would replace 2.5 acres of shallow intertidal habitat that is home to submerged aquatic vegetation and where Indian manatees also call home. The Indian manatee is a threatened species already.

The state Department of Natural Resources did a biological investigation report for the project. Their findings indicated that there are plenty of other lakefront properties that are available to develop in the same area.

“Each little slice of shoreline, marsh and productive waters taken away hurts the lake, the aquatic culture, and the birds and animals whose lives depend on this type of habitat,” David Lawton, a Lewisburg resident communicated.

This piece of wetland has been in discussion for decades. Many developers have wanted to develop the property but have not gone through the plans due to opposition from residents, environmental groups and local and state officials.

“Everybody wants a piece of paradise. There ain’t enough paradise to go around anymore so you got to create paradise out of the wetlands and the marsh,” Ted Ralph, a nearby resident and retired federal engineer, said as he pointed out the site of the proposed development from his fishing boat.

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Last month St. Tammany Parish voters voted on four property tax renewals for their school district. The voters approved the tax renewals which total 42.72 mills. The St. Tammany Parish School District will gain around $102 million dollars annually.

This sounds like a huge chunk of change, and it is, however it is just part of the school district’s approximately $453 million budget. The money pulled from the four taxes will go to things such as general school operations, employee salaries and student educational programs.

St. Tammany schools Superintendent Frank Jabbia is thankful that the four taxes generating the $102 million won by the voters. He said it would have been “catastrophic” if the four taxes were not supported by the community. The four taxes will not go into effect until 2023 and will stay in effect for 10 years. Nineteen percent of the 186,000 St. Tammany Parish voters voted on the four taxes.

The first proposition at 4.42 mills (bringing in around $10.52 million annually won by 54%. The second proposition at 32.41 mills (bringing in around $77.1 million annually) won by 55% of the vote, proposition three at 3.14 mills (bringing in around $7.4 million annually) received 54% of the votes and the fourth proposition at 2.75 mills (bringing in around 6.5 million annually won by 53%.

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The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released this October shows strong builder confidence. The main reason for this push in builder confidence is the strong consumer demand. According to the report builder’s opinion of the market for newly-built single-family homes rose 4 points to 80 this October. This is incredible news since there are still hurdles for builders when it comes to rising material prices and material shortages.

“Although demand and home sales remain strong, builders continue to grapple with ongoing supply chain disruptions and labor shortages that are delaying completion times and putting upward pressure on building material and home prices,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke.

“Builders are getting increasingly concerned about affordability hurdles ahead for most buyers,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Building material price increases and bottlenecks persist and interest rates are expected to rise in coming months as the Fed begins to taper its purchase of U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed debt. Policymakers must focus on fixing the broken supply chain. This will spur more construction and help ease upward pressure on home prices.”

The three major HMI categories all saw gains in October. Current sales conditions rose five points to 87, sales expectations in the next six months saw a three-point gain to 87, and traffic of prospective buyers rose a big four points to 65. The Midwest rose to 69, Northeast stayed at 72, the South stayed at 80 and the West unchanged at 83.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI is a monthly survey that measures builders’ opinions of the current single-family home sales and expectations for the next six months. A scale is used to rate their opinions as good, fair or poor. Along with this measurement, participating builders are also asked to rate the traffic of prospective buyers. This is scored as high to very high, average and low to very low.

Forecast shows that the end of 2021 will still have a strong housing market with strong buyer demand. If you are in the market to purchase or sell a home now is the time to contact a local sales professional.

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Covered front porch with real wood rustic columns welcomes you into this home.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, the first 8 months of 2021 reported 775,772 single-family permits issued year-to-date. Compared on a year-over-year basis the end of summer 2021 saw a 25.8% increase over August 2020.

All four regions of the country reported increases. The highest in the Northeast was at 29.3% and the lowest was in the Midwest at 21.6%. The remaining regions were as follows the South at 26.4% and the West at 25.7%. Multifamily was also on the rise with 33.7% in the West, 27.2% in the Northeast, 24.9% in the Midwest and 24.6% in the South.

The same goes for all 50 states and the District of Columbia which reported increases across the country. The highest was in the District of Columbia with an increase of 208% from 87 to 268. The total of the 10 highest states was 62.3%

At the local level, below are the top 10 metro areas that issued the highest number of single-family permits.

Metropolitan Statistical Area Single-family Permits: Aug (Units #YTD, NSA)
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 36,359
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 35,572
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 25.209
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 22,768
Austin-Round Rock, TX 17,375
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 13,603
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 13,174
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 12,068
Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 11,482
Jacksonville, FL 11,400

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Purchasing a home is one of life’s biggest and most stressful events. With that said, it is also one of the most exciting events. When it comes to advise, everyone has it and while friends and family have your best interest in mind, to make the best decision, you need to ask yourself these three questions.

1. What’s Going on with Home Prices?

Home prices are a big part of the housing market. Home prices directly affect how much it will cost you to buy a home and how much you stand to gain as a homeowner when prices appreciate. Waiting might not be in the best interest of the buyer.

The current market is seeing big home price surges and looks like they will continue. Keeping Current Matters reveals Home Price Forecasts for 2021. This is a good tool to use to predict just what it will cost you to buy a home. Today the average of all forecasts is 12.46%. This means a median-priced home that cost $350,000 in January of 2021 will cost an additional $43,610 by the end of the year. So in a nutshell the longer you wait to purchase a home the more it will cost you.

2. Are Today’s Low Mortgage Rates Going To Last?

Due to record-low mortgage rates, today’s market is booming. Interest rates also put a big dent in the market. The lower the rate the better the market, the higher the rate the slower the market. Just a slight increase can make a big impact on the overall cost of a home.

3. Why Is Homeownership Important to You?

The answer to this question is not the same for everyone. This is a personal decision and can only be answered by you. Financial benefits are important but emotional benefits are also. According to the 2021 National Homeownership Market Survey, there are nine reasons homeowners value homeownership.

These nine reasons directly affect how you feel about your home. Six of the nine reasons include stability, safety, a sense of accomplishment, a life milestone, a stake in the community, and personal pride. The National Housing & Financial Capability Survey from NeighborWorks America reports that Americans believe owning a home provides a sense of safety and security and an increase in financial stability.

Remember owning a home is a life-changing event and will have a big impact. This is a big decision and all options should be well thought out. Using a trusted Realtor can help you with the decision.

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The nice gray is a pop of color in the kitchen. The house features hardwood floors and a nice white wall.

Historical homes are important to our housing market. Renovations on historical homes can be challenging because of surprise damage, regulations and preservation. Take this challenge and top it with making an older home green. This is where National Green Building Standard® (NGBS) comes in handy.

The National Green Building Standard® (NGBS) is a guide to certification for green homes. Chapter 11 in this guide is dedicated to the “Certification for Existing Buildings.” Building professionals can use this guide for a comprehensive, voluntary, above-code approach to design and construct residential and mixed-use properties and for land development.  Builders are able to take this guide and use it as a “roadmap for green renovation projects” and match it with historical preservation regulations

Many builders are taking old historic buildings and turning them into residential properties. Things they need to consider are how many units will they include in their design and how much energy and water the proposed property will use versus how much the post-rehab used.

This can be a difficult task however with the NGBS these types of projects have more flexibility. Under the NGBS mandatory, historically designated buildings with historic designation restrictions are exempt from NGBS mandatory practices for unaltered portions. Cargill Falls Mill in Putnam, Connecticut is a great example.

Cargill Falls Mill is located on the Quinebaug River and is deemed a historical building. The property was turned into over nine acres of residential space with 125 units.

Karla Butterfield, NGBS Green Master Verifier, of Steven Winter Associates noted: “As a historically registered landmark, the complex was under strict renovation requirements. The NGBS remodeling program was the only residential tool that allowed the project to quantify the energy and water savings while addressing the great efforts made by the project team to reduce material and resource consumption, improve indoor air quality, address sustainable site strategies, and promote health and wellbeing for residents.”

Old buildings, especially in urban areas, are perfect projects to make into residential space. To learn more about the process visit the National Association of Home Builders site where NAHB’s Sustainability and Green Building efforts are explained. You can also find tips on water efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and other building science strategies.

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The housing market is strong and both resale and new homes are strongly in demand. According to the U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Construction’s (SOC) 2020 new single-family homes with four or more bedrooms increased. This trend could be because of more homeowners having to live work and play in their homes due to the pandemic.

The SOC reported that across the country 45.2% of new single-family homes started in 2020 had four or more bedrooms. This was up from 2019’s report of 42.6%. Again this increase is due to the shift in buyers’ desires in a home. The pandemic devastated the US economy in 2020 paving the road for record low interest rates. The low rates coupled with low housing inventory shot house prices up. First-time homebuyers who would purchase a home with less than four bedrooms were pushed out of the market.

This caused a shift in homes.  The 2020 SOC reduced share of new homes started with 2 bedrooms or less (9.7 percent vs 10.5 percent the previous year) corroborates the lowered presence of first-time homebuyers in the new home market that year.

The East North Central region was the only division that showed a decline in new single-family homes built with four or more bedrooms. Across the board, homes with less than 1,200 square feet had more homes built with fewer bedrooms.

If you are in the market for a new home, contact your local Realtor. A professional Realtor can help you through the whole process getting you what you want for the price you want.

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Typically held in the spring, the Girod Street Stroll has been postponed due to COVID-19 and will now be held in the fall. The event is held annually by the Old Mandeville Business Association.

This year the Girod Street Stroll is presented by Resource Bank and will take place on September 25, 2021 from 5pm – 9pm in Old Mandeville. The activities take place starting at Girod Street at the Mandeville Trailhead and following along to the Lakefront. Live music and entertainment will be by 10th Street Brass.

Patrons will be able to stroll to over twenty stops and enjoy small bite plates by local Mandeville chefs and cocktails. Participants of the event can vote for the best small plate and cocktail. There will also be a raffle of a live painting that will be created by artist Andrew Wilkie.

“It is one of Mandeville’s most popular annual events, as it showcases our local businesses and restaurants, our artists community, and our vibrant culture,” OMBA Board Member Andre Judice said.

The Old Mandeville Business Association (OMBA) is a non-profit that is made up of both businesses and residences of Old Mandeville. The goal is to serve and support the local commerce while preserving and promoting the charm and beauty of the community.

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