Surprising facts about the new construction market reveal that green building is becoming a large percentage of single-family and multi-family construction projects. A report released by McGraw Hill called the Construction’s Dodge Construction Market Forecast states that single-family construction and multi-family construction account for 45% of the value of construction projects in the United States in 2014. A separate report released in the Forecast, “Green Multifamily & Single Family Homes: Growth in a Recovering Market,” shows that in 2014, 62% of single-family builders and 54% of multi-family builders have 15% of their business that is green building. Those numbers are supposed to increase by 2018 to 84% and 79% respectively.

Probably unknown to most people, green building has become so popular that there is a segment of the single-family builder market which is building over 90% of its projects with green building techniques. That percentage is 19%, and the report stated that this number was expected to double to 38% by 2018. Green builders have found that government incentives and grant money is available for those builders that utilize green building techniques. This has “inspired” business men and women to employ these techniques, and over the past 10 – 15 years, the market has come to a certain level of expectation when it comes to green, environmentally friendly new construction.

The report by McGraw Hill showed that the consumer market believes that green building shows a higher quality of home as well as a greater value of home and therefore will pay more for this quality. 73% of single family builders (up from 61% since the last report) and 68% of multifamily builders say consumers will pay more for green homes.

“This new study demonstrates phenomenal growth in green building, with more builders engaging in sustainable building practices than ever before,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del. “While growth in green in the single family market is driven more by high quality and customer demand, the multifamily market is more driven by cost factors such as the availability of government or utility incentives, as well as enhancing their competitive position and corporate image. All are compelling reasons for the industry to engage with this continuously growing market.”

Ron Lee Homes in St. Tammany Parish is a Certified Green Builder – a designation earned from the National Association of Home Builders. Ron Lee constantly is educating himself and his staff to employ innovative green techniques in all homes built in Mandeville, Covington, Madisonville, and Abita Springs, Louisiana. For more information about building your new custom home by Ron Lee Homes, Contact Us at 985-626-7619 or E-mail Info@RonLeeHomes.com.

 

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At Ron Lee Homes, we will build you a new home or a new, custom home either on a subdivision lot or on your own lot.  Or, we can build your new home with a floorplan that you designed.  Or we can design your floorplan as well as build your new home from the ground up.  If you are interested in building the home of your dreams, but you don’t have a lot or a floorplan, national trends are starting to show that rural042_mls lots and developments will help new home buyers save money on the cost of the land on which they are planning to build their new homes.  These lots and neighborhoods are considered rural, but they still may be located very close to small retail shopping centers or even distributed between grocery stores and large shopping areas which may be as much as 5 – 10 miles away.

There are several subdivisions in St. Tammany Parish right now that have affordable lot costs, are located a little farther away, but are very close to shopping and dining on the I-12 Corridor.  These communities include the following: Bedico Creek Preserve (located off of Hwy. 1085 off of 1077), Maison du Lac (located off of Bootlegger Rd. off of Hwy. 21), TerraBella Village (also off of Bootlegger Rd. off of Hwy. 21), and Eagle Landing (located off north on 1077 above Madisonville).  All of these communities offer lots for sale as well as new homes for sale built buy quality builders in St. Tammany Parish.  Ron Lee Homes builds homes in Bedico Creek, Maison du Lac, and TerraBella Village.

Keep in mind that when you are purchasing a new lot, there are several requirements to consider:

  1. Decide on the square footage of your new home, and if you do not already have a floorplan, make sure that your new home floorplan design will fit within those square footage requirements.
  2. If you already have a floorplan designed, make sure the “footprint” of your floorplan will fit proportionately on the lot you are interested in buying.
  3. If you don’t know how to fit a floorplan to your lot, consult with your builder to help you decide if the lot in which your are interested will be a good fit for your floorplan.

039_mlsRon Lee Homes has been in the home building business in St. Tammany Parish for over 20 years.  We have built “spec” homes (where the buyer can pick out carpet, tile, and cabinet colors), semi-custom homes (already designed floorplans with minimal changes by the home buyer), and fully custom homes.  We have built a portfolio of homes ranging in square footage from 1,800 – 10,000 square feet.  We are experts in determining how your home will be positioned on your lot.  We will even go through a detailed “sitewalk,” which includes marketing out the footprint of your home and choosing the trees that you want to keep – if you happen to have a lot with a lots of trees!

So, when you are ready to purchase your land, and you may consider buying a lot that is more rural, Ron Lee Homes can guide you every step of the way from your lot selection and floorplan design to the final home building process.  For More Information on buying a new homesite in St. Tammany Parish, Contact Us at 985-626-7619 or E-mail Info@RonLeeHomes.com.

 

In many of the subdivisions in which Ron Lee Homes builds in St. Tammany Parish, there are now new additions to the gorgeous streetscapes which used to feature beautifully green cut lots waiting for the sound of hammers and saws and the smell of fresh pine and freshRon Lee Homes presents this new home for sale that is featured in the 2014 Parade of Homes at TerraBella Village. The Parade of Homes is held by the St. Tammany Home Builders Association every year. paint.  These new additions are new homes being built for sale for potential home buyers in St. Tammany Parish.  Large master-planned communities such as TerraBella Village and Bedico Creek Preserve are seeing lot sales and new builder lot sales more in 2014 than in any other year since the real estate market declined in 2008.  These communities offer multiple options both in price and size for their homesites for sale in Covington and Madisonville.  There is a reason that people are beginning to see new homes taking shape in many new home neighborhoods in St. Tammany Parish – builders are beginning to see a demand for the purchase of homes by buyers in the Greater New Orleans area.

For a long time, there was a supply of homes in our area that simply “would not go away.”  Now, there seems to be a shortage of homes, both previously owned (resale) and new.  Because of this, builders are starting to build what are called spec or inventory homes.  These homes are designed and built to builders’ already-designed floorplans, and buyers may be able to choose flooring choices / colors, cabinet and/or countertop colors, and paint colors before the home is totally complete.  However, if they miss out on this opportunity, than the home is pre-built with certain features that are attractive to home buyers in St. Tammany Parish.

002_mlsThe real estate market nationally is mirroring the activity in our local subdivisions as in April, new home sales rose 6.4% to 433,000 homes, which is even higher than the amount of homes sold in March, 2014.  Also, housing affordability rose to 65.5% in the 1st quarter of 2014 according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).  This index evaluates each major and minor market to see if homes are affordable to home buyers earning the median incomes in each of these markets.  Mortgage rates are steady, and the supply of homes available to home buyers is at 5.3 months according to the rate of sales averaged over national markets.

In St. Tammany Parish, specifically the cities of Mandeville, Covington, and Madisonville, many different subdivisions reflect both the supply of homes and home affordability to our buyers.  In fact, if we were to conduct our own index, we may find that our community is doing better than the national average.  Ron Lee Homes is so busy that we are trying to manage our customers’ expectations when it comes to building timelines on our homes.  We are busy, which is Great, and we want to make sure that we make time for your new home project.  So, if you are ready to build your new home, get in touch with us as soon as possible at 985-626-7619 or E-mail Info@RonLeeHomes.com.

 

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Louisiana has, without a doubt, experienced one of the most bitter and unusual winters on record in this state.  On the Northshore alone, there 3 ice events with one actual hazardous ice storm.  Also, the season does not seem to want to let go with temperatures dropping into the 40’s every 10 – 12 days, as if to remind us that old man winter can exact his due until spring or summer officially takes over.  Because of these colder temperatures, homeowners in Southeast Louisiana who usually enjoy a practically maintenance-free winter on our fair shores, have had a wake-up call when it comes to wrapping pipes and letting the water drip – exactly how high do you turn the faucet on anyway?  With all of this in mine, below are some tips and tricks to check out around your home as the weather thaws, and things really start to warm up.

Inspect roof: Check your roof for loose, warped or missing shingles and make sure the chimney flashing and skylight seals are intact.

Clean and repair gutters: Clear winter storm debris, such as branches and pine cones that dropped from the trees during the ice storms, from gutters and downspouts and check that they are still securely attached to the house. Blocked or loose gutters can allow water into your home and damage trim.

Look for leaks: Common culprits for hard-to-find leaks are attics and crawl spaces, such as underneath a raised house. Inspect these areas, look under sinks for damage from frozen pipes and check your water heater for signs of corrosion.

Clear exterior drains: Remove leaves from underground or exterior drains to clear the way for spring showers and prevent backups.  With all of the precipitation that we had – whether frozen or rain – there may be clogs that are not normal around your ditches.

Inspect siding: Inspect siding for pieces that have come loose or popped because of the unseasonable cold weather.

Check window and door seals: Examine the exterior caulking on door and window seals to ensure it remains watertight.

Patch cracks: Patch cracks in concrete driveways, sidewalks and steps that may have appeared because of the ice.

Paint the exterior: Painting or touching up paint on the exterior of your home not only makes it look better, but will also help protect the home from the elements.  In Louisiana, it is recommended that if you don’t paint your home that you at least clean off the mildew and put a seal on the exterior to protect it from more mildew growing back quickly.

Inspect the HVAC: Hire a qualified technician to service your home’s HVAC system to make sure it is running properly before hot temperatures call for air conditioning. Now is also the time to replace your HVAC filters.

“Winter weather can damage homes in ways that aren’t easily visible,” said NAHB Remodelers Chair Paul Sullivan, CAPS, CGR, CGP, of Waterville Valley, N.H. “Home owners should protect their investment and hire a professional remodeler to repair or replace damaged components now, before spring storms create more problems.”

 

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Even though Louisiana is located at the “bottom” of the states in the U.S., we still have something to brag about – Baton Rouge is leading the nation’s cities in its recovery and higher than normal levels of real estate building and buying activity.  According to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI), Baton Rouge scored a 1.42 on the index, the highest overall number nationwide.  What this number means is that Baton Rouge is showing a 42% increase over normal market activity when the housing market is at normal operating levels.  This is not the first time that this Southeastern Louisiana city has made this score.  Baton Rouge has been leading the housing market recovery “charge” in Louisiana since it drifted out of the Recession.

It is admitted by many people here in Louisiana, especially in St. Tammany Parish, that Southeast Louisiana did not experience the drastic losses that other states experienced when the housing market crashed.  However, to have an index number close to 50% above normal activity levels says a lot about the pent up demand for new homes and existing homes for sale in this region.  Overall, the report from the LMI was also very positive with 11 new metro cities joining the list of cities in recovery.  Also, the nation isn’t doing too badly – it’s running about 88% of what the normal housing market would be doing.  Meanwhile, 28 percent of metro areas saw their score rise this month and 83 percent have shown an improvement over the past year.

Other cities which posted above the norm increases in activity and sales were as follows: Honolulu, Oklahoma City, Austin Houston, San Jose, CA and Harrisburg, PA.  One of the major forces driving the statistics that are collected by the LMI was employment.  Builders nationwide have been reporting a shortage in labor in getting their homes built.  Contractors and sub-contractors who used to be in the housing industry had to find work elsewhere when the real estate market sagged.  Therefore, builders are holding signed contracts on homes ready to build, but they are short the labor force needed to actually do the work.  Employment in construction has gone up even in the past few months, as well as other industries including communications and IT, and unemployment has been creeping down by tenths each quarter.  Many analysts and economists expect to see a continuation of improvement in the housing markets in the 350 metros scored by the LMI.

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With the advent of sophisticated, up-to-the-minute real estate websites, organizations such as the Federal Reserve, economists, and banks are utilizing every tool that they can find to be able to predict home selling and buying trends, in order to make the besttrulia-png decisions that they can about housing stocks and housing portfolios.  Unlike the stock market which is closely governed by the Securities & Exchange Commission and has results that can be monitored and thus predicted, the housing market has been a volatile, if unpredictable commodity that has previously been separated out and graded by regional information across the United States.  Because Zillow and Trulia are able to instantly access a multitude of MLS (Multiple Listing Service) feeds – lines of coded information taking the latest updates of listings, sales, and updates to real estate listing which are being inputted by Realtors on an hourly basis – analysts are now able to collect data on a weekly and monthly basis in order to predict which markets are on the rise in real estate sales, which markets are stagnant, and which markets are falling.

One of the indicators which economists have been watching lately and producing papers on are the rise of home prices.  During 2013, home prices rose at dramatic paces through many months of the year, breaking records that pre-dated the Great Recession.  ZillowThese home prices seemed to be rising so fast that economists became worried that they would create another housing bubble and dump the United States into yet another Recession once they reached unsustainable highs.  In other words, the housing market would “price itself out of the real estate market.”  However, at the end of 2013, housing prices leveled off and had only moderate spikes in most major markets.  Interest in predicting the housing market came through the close scrutiny of this process throughout 2013 when economists and analysts starting piecing together the data from Realtor websites as well as national websites such as Zillow and Trulia.

Prediction of home sales are based on some tried and true, simple methods such as supply and demand.  Many houses on the market for a higher price won’t sell, therefore, sellers will drop their prices in order to move houses.  So, too much supply will exterior-pool-1lower the cost of houses.  If there are few homes on the market, and it is a seller’s market (which it seemed to be during 2013), then the seller can name their price.  New Orleans, Louisiana is still currently experiencing a seller’s market in certain neighborhoods downtown.  The Garden District, Uptown, and Mid-City are all seeing homes go on the market, and within 24 hours, a home will have bids going among 5 different interested parties.  Realtors in these Greater New Orleans areas are also contacting homeowners who do not have their homes for sale to ask them if they would be interested in selling their home because they have run out of locations to sell their clients.  These pockets of demand seem to be popping up all over the United States as the once stagnant real estate market is once again, picking up speed.  In New Orleans, this trend is because of the increase of available jobs in the Central Business District which is seeing an increase of out-of-state employees coming to New Orleans to work in the tech and film industries.

Even though the housing market has been predicted on a broad scale before, there are still many investors and participants in the stock market who have “bet on housing stocks.”  Therefore, this influx of detailed and timely data has been a boon for those that are heavily vested in the real estate market, especially on Wall Street.

 

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The most important part of being a builder is being able to not only exceed customer expectation but also to anticipate the customer’s needs by staying ahead of the swiftly changing world.  With greenhouse gasses becoming a real concern, and energy efficiency taking a precedence over other standard amenities in many homes, builders must be on the cutting edge of technology and knowledge in order to compete with other builders in the industry and in their area.

At Ron Lee Homes, Ron Lee and Nancy Lee are constantly striving to re-educate about the building industry as the real estate industry in St. Tammany Parish grows and changes.  The way that they are able to stay abreast of the latest home building trends is to become certified with the National Association of Home Builders in the many different certifications that are offered.  Ron Lee has a Certified Graduate Builder Designation and the Certified Green Professional Designation while Nancy Lee has achieved a Certified Marketing Professional Designation from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).  Following this trend, the NAHB recently did a survey of its builders to learn the design trends for single-family homes in the United States in 2014.  The survey had some very opinionated results from a selection of builders.

Based on ratings from 1 to 5, where 1=not at all likely and 5= very likely, the top rated design details were walk-in closet in master bedroom, low-e windows, laundry room and great room.  If you have ever toured a home built by Ron Lee Homes or Hearthstone 337-money-hill-9Homes by Ron Lee, you were probably blown away by the unique design of the great room and the master bedrooms created and architecturally produced by Ron Lee.  Our great rooms or family rooms feature unique single, double, and triple crown molding that is sometimes crafted by separating columns and come complete with a wall of windows and a custom-designed fireplace finished with crown molding and imported marble.  Our great rooms have also featured brick, stone, and real wood beam finishes as well as built-ins for bookshelves and large screen televisions.

Our master bedroom closets all are walk-in and usually are completed with custom closet shelves, shoe racks, drawers, and cubbies in order to properly organize the closet.  Low e-windows have been a standard in homes by Ron Lee since they were introduced to the real estate industry in the early 2000’s.  We take laundry rooms to the next level by including a “farm sink” and mud room type feel in the laundry room.  We also include built-in cabinets both overhead and installed on the floor in our laundry rooms.  Below you can see a complete breakdown of the most popular items.

survey-resultsIn addition to these items, there were several energy efficient items that were popular picks for the builders that were surveyed: Energy-star rated appliances and windows, a programmable thermostat, and insulation higher than required by code.  Being a Certified Green Builder, Ron Lee has always taken great care to utilize as many “green features” as possible in his new and custom homes that he builds in St. Tammany Parish, so for 2014, there will probably be a greater prevalence and variety of green features from which to choose.

013_mlsFinally, the list of popular features chosen by builders is finished by interior features such as a double-sink in the kitchen, granite countertops and a kitchen island.  The kitchens designed and built by Ron Lee Homes are some of the most highly customized kitchens designed by builders in St. Tammany Parish.  You can view them here.  We anticipate continuing to exceed each of our last custom homes in design for many years to come.

Outdoor design elements that were picked to be popular in 2014 included front porches, patios and custom outdoor lighting.  In Southeast Louisiana, home buyers are very interested in their outdoor spaces because of the beautiful warm weather of our region. 022_mlsMany buyers whether they be single professionals, couples, or families spend much of their time enjoying the exteriors of their homes, so Ron Lee Homes builds homes accordingly.  Our ornately designed deep-South, covered front porches offer plenty of room to rock on the porch at night, listening to the tree frogs and night owls.  We also install sound systems,  custom lighting, and ceiling fans to complete this outdoor space.  Our back patios are sometimes completely fabricated utilizing brick design, and Ron Lee Homes also has a portfolio of custom homes that offer outdoor kitchens, fountains, and courtyards.

The future looks bright for Ron Lee Homes in 2014 as we have stayed on the cutting-edge trends in which home buyers are interested in 2014. For Information in Building a New or Custom Home, Contact Us Today at 985-626-7619 or E-mail Info@RonLeeHomes.com.

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The term “DIY” is thrown around a lot in today’s media.  Many people who are “in the business” know that this term means Do It Yourself, and they spend hours doing just that with practically every project around their home.  Sometimes this work is done to interior-1enhance the appearance of a home, garden, shop, or public area.  Many times, Do It Yourselfers are taking on the work themselves in order to produce affordable results which will help them sell their home.

In order to provide some helpful tips to those new home buyers who are looking to purchase a new inventory home or to build a custom home of their dreams, but they are unable to get started because they still have a home to sell; we are Ron Lee Homes would like to give some tips and tricks on how to use DIY tactics to spruce up your home to increase its value and get it ready to sell.  So, here goes, our list of DIY tips for the kitchen:

1. Apply Some Love to Your Appliances: When selling your home, think about all of the effort that you put into creating the interior-4perfect kitchen, whether you use it for catering and entertaining friends, or if it’s the heart of your family’s activities and milestones.  You may have installed specialty appliances, such as stainless steel appliances, upgraded gas appliances, or even a Viking kitchen setup.  You probably spent a lot of time and effort buying the perfect refrigerator to match your kitchen’s theme in order to blend in, as well as to offer the most square footage for cool storage and freezing as possible.  It is very important not to neglect your appliances.  One of the things that will make your home show well in order to sell is to thoroughly clean all of your appliances, both inside and out.  You should also consider completely defrosting your refrigerator and freezer, cleaning your fans, checking for cracks or leaks in either your collecting cup or an evaporating pan (dependent on the model), and if necessary replace the water filters in your refrigerator as well as your iceline.  Special cleaners are sold for stainless steel appliances.  If you are trying to sell your home, it is important to spend a little bit extra to get these specialty cleaners in order to make your appliances shine like new.

2. Clean From Top to Bottom: While spending a lot of time and focus on the actual appliances in your kitchen, don’t neglect the one item that will filter out all of your excess steam, smoke, and smell from your kitchen while you cook – your vent hood.  You may not realize it, but your vent hood collects a significant amount of grease while it is essentially filtering the air in your kitchen.  You should take special care to thoroughly clean all surfaces of your vent hood. The next part to check the type of vented hood that you have.  More modern kitchens utilize a ductless cooktop vent hood which uses a carbon charcoal filter to recirculate and clean the air along the way.  Make sure to replace this filter every 6 months if your kitchen has one of these vent hoods.

3. Gas Ovens Produce…Gas: Believe it or not, it’s important to pay close attention to your gas appliances if you cook with gas, which can be preferable for medium to high-capacity cooks and chefs.  While your stovetop may adjust your temperature perfectly013_mls for thickening your sauces or creating the perfect roux, your gas oven may not be as forgiving of drippings that may come off of the many delectable casseroles and souffles that you cook in your oven.  The more drippings that are burned off in high temperatures in your gas oven, the more carbon monoxide is produced.  Many experts recommend installing a carbon monoxide detector in the room adjacent to your kitchen (if you use a gas oven) in order to detect an unsafe production of carbon monoxide from your oven.  By acting as a responsible homeowner, you will not only have a clean oven to show potential buyers, and you will also let them know that you are keeping your home safe and maintained from harmful gas exposure.

4. Protect Your Surfaces: The surface on which you cook is the most highly used and important part of your kitchen.  These surfaces are where you set your groceries, fix sandwiches, roll out dough, cut and prep meat and vegetables, and visit with your friend when you are having a glass of wine and a long visit.  Most people worry constantly about keeping their countertops 548-terrabella-8germ-free, but whey they  may miss is that these surfaces must be kept sealed and protected in order to make them last.  Even though your builder may have explained that the countertops installed were granite countertops, there are many different types of granite countertops, so be sure to check your documentation, or if applicable, your warranty, to check to see the type of maintenance and sealing time periods are recommended in order to maintain the appearance and quality of your countertops.  Different countertop styles require different maintenance.  For marble countertops, you may want to seal them if you use a lot of acidic food because the acid mars the marble.  For soapstone or butcher block countertops, these must be sealed with oil.  While you can’t seal solid-surface (Corian or plastic top) countertops, you can “repair” them from slices or scratches by using a jeweler’s emery pad to rub out these scratches.  However you decide to take care of your countertops, or how often you decide to seal them will decide if your kitchen will show well when or if you decide to sell your home.

5. Kill the Mildew! Louisiana homeowners are no strangers to mildew, as for many, it is a constant fight to keep the mildew from creeping into the house.  However, there are some simple ways to ensure that your kitchen sink or sinks don’t first of all grow 003_printmildew, or if they already have, how to clean them so that your kitchen does not show any mildew damage.  The most important part of your kitchen sink is how the sink is sealed to your countertops, the backsplash, or the wall.  The caulking used to seal the sink keeps water from seeping into the cabinets below or into the sheetrock against the wall.  This water seepage and settling will grow mildew in a hurry if the caulking is not repaired or replaced.  If your caulking for your sink is gone, you can simply replace it.  However, we recommend to thoroughly clean around the entire area that will be caulked with a mildew remover in order to completely kill the mildew before you reseal your sink.  Once you have cleaned off all of the mildew, then thoroughly seal the sink with the appropriate caulking.  It is very important not to remove caulking that does not have mildew damage and has not pulled away from the sink.  Caulking over this already existing caulk will only  make your seal stronger.

So, in addition to making your home’s kitchen show it’s very best, we have also given you some excellent tips to make sure that you have literally cleaned all parts, components, and appliances in your kitchen from the inside out.  So, even if your home does not sell immediately, you will still enjoy the fruits of your labor by have a perfectly clean and safe kitchen.

 

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Builders in St. Tammany Parish already seem to have a handle on new nationwide trends in home building that are being reported by media in other regions of the country.  A reporter in Pennsylvania from the Pittsburgh Tribune shared a few of his thoughts as to the trends of new home building not only in the Pittsburgh area but also nationwide.  We found it interesting that many of these trends have already been used by Ron Lee Homes in Covington, Louisiana at least for the last 10 years.  Below is a description of new home building trends according to an “expert.”

Modern Kitchens:
While the writer focused primarily on the installation of a new kitchen appliance called a steam oven – a new way to reheat food traditionally reheated in a microwave, he went on to expound on the fact that buyers prefer a more custom, high-end, possibly catering kitchen.  Some of the features added a standards in semi-custom and custom homes by Ron Lee Homes in their modern kitchens include solid granite, custom marble, or other custom material for the kitchen countertops.  Most of the cabinetry installed by Ron Lee Homes and Hearthstone Homes by Ron Lee in the kitchens that we design and build include real wood, 42” or bigger custom cabinetry.  These cabinets can have double or triple moldings, glass fronts, scrollwork, and even cabinetry installed to “hide” appliance doors such as refrigerators, icemakers, wine coolers, appliance garages, and microwaves.  Our modern kitchens come standard with an upgraded lighting package including the option to install lights beneath the cabinets above the countertops.  Our buyers are proud to utilize their kitchens for parties, events, full family meals, or just a family breakfast or dinner.  Ron Lee Homes more than excels at the concept of the home building trend of a modern kitchen.

Outdoor Features:
While the author from Pittsburgh includes exterior lighting, a patio, and front porch, he goes on to say later in the article that buyers prefer a home patio that has a deck and that an outdoor fireplace is also considered a luxury.  If you have ever toured a new, custom home built by Ron Lee Homes, you will know that we have knocked this feature “out of the park” for our new home buyers.  Our exterior finishes include gorgeous all-brick patios with either brick or stucco columns and either brick or paver flooring.  Our exterior fireplaces are practically award-winning in design and implementation to create a cozy yet stylish outdoor entertainment area.  Our electronic include upgraded exterior lighting as well as up to 3 ceiling fans for the covered patio areas because of the heat and mosquitoes that are prevalent in Louisiana in general.  Our front porches are exquisite with sultry deep South porch designs complete with either spindle fence design or gracious colonial columns announcing the entrance to the home.  We even have a secret weapon in our use of paint on the porch ceiling to discourage mosquitos or pesky love bugs from taking up residence on the porch.  When it comes to exterior amenities, Ron Lee Homes has gone above and beyond national home building trends.

High-End “Everything”
Home buying trends have indicated that single professionals, couples, and even families are choosing homes that are smaller with more amenities.  Instead of the affordable “big box house,” on 1/4 or 1/2 acre lots with 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, priced right at $200,000, buyers are being more choosy as to the quality of interior amenities of their home.  They are interested in the niceties that truly make the home sell for and maintain its value.  Some of these features include the flooring.  Instead of going for builder grade hardwoods and carpeting, buyers are opting for more expensive, popular, stylish, and tasteful choices in higher-end flooring.  Also, laminate is “out” both for flooring and for countertops where buyers are interested in tile or granite finishes for either.  Crown molding has become more of the norm instead of an upgrade, and buyers are taking an interest in their kitchens being functional and accessible with walk-in pantries and a necessary kitchen eating area either built-in or spaced for a kitchen table.  The trend, according to the author, is that new home buyers are sacrificing space for high-end, quality interior features for their new or custom-built homes.

Ron Lee Homes also offers green technologies in all of the homes that we build.  As a Certified Green Builder, we utilize the latest green technologies in building with energy efficient features such as double-insulated windows, spray foam insulation, energy efficient HVAC systems, structure and roofing technologies and so much more.  If you are interested in working with a builder in St. Tammany Parish that has already been building to the latest national trends for over 10 years, Contact Ron Lee Homes today at 985-626-7619 or e-mail Info@RonLeeHomes.com for more information.

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The southern region of the United States saw a 38.5% increase in housing starts during the month of November to 558,000 new construction building starts, while the overall number of new home starts and permits skyrocketed to above 1 million in November, 2013.  This is the first time, except for one increase in the spring of 2013, that new housing starts and permits have risen above 1 million since 2008.  The South’s 558,000 housing starts also breaks a record of new home starts since February, 2008.

In the real estate market, single-family home starts rose to 727,000, which was a 20.8% increase from October, 2013, and multi-family home starts rose 26.8% to 364,000.  Single-family home starts have not increased that dramatically since December of 2007, and for this increase to happen during one of the typically slower real estate months of the year – November – is a record in and of itself.

Elsewhere in the United States, the Midwest saw a 41.7% rise in single-family home starts, the most since August, 2007.  All regions in America all saw increase in new construction starts and permits for the building of new single-family homes.  The multi-family home market was a huge component in the above 1 million mark of home starts and permits, but overall, the real estate market has been a huge driver for the U.S. economy with the decrease in interest rates and the semi-flexible standards for new home construction loans.

After the government shutdown in October, the Fed’s meeting and report, at the end of September, and a slight stabilization of the “new norm” when it comes to higher interest rates; “on-the-fence buyers” have reentered the market and are starting to buy up the existing inventory.  This is reducing the amount of months of standing inventory in all regions of the United States.  The real estate market is actually turning more into a sellers’ market, drastically different from the buyers’ market and investors’ market it has been since the Recession.

Even though employment in the U.S. is sluggish to recover, the construction industry is actually experiencing a dearth in employment of contractors and subs for their jobs.  This has slowed down the production on new home construction projects because of a delay in getting quality workers to perform all of the contractor work during new home construction.  This is good news for those workers who had to change occupations while the construction industry sat idle.  Ramping back up new home construction production to pre-Recession levels will take time because of this lack of available contractors and sub-contractors.

This is good news for local builders in St. Tammany Parish, and Ron Lee Homes has been experiencing an uptick in the already busy schedule of new, custom homes for our buyers here in Mandeville, Covington, and Madisonville.  If you are interested in purchasing a new or custom home for sale in St. Tammany Parish, Contact Ron Lee Homes at 985-626-7619 or e-mail Info@RonLeeHomes.com.