A jointly sponsored survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo to a selection of builders in the United States rates builder confidence in three different areas: current sales conditions, prospective buyers, and expectations for future sales. The results of this survey are published each month in the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Any rating by builders that is higher than 50 is considered a positive sign. During October, 2017, the builder confidence index rose to a total of 68 for all three categories, which is the highestBuilder Confidence level it has been since May of this year.  March – June are considered some of the best months for real estate, so to have this high of a score during October from builders is a very positive sign for the real estate industry as a whole.

“This month’s report shows that home builders are rebounding from the initial shock of the hurricanes,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald, a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. “However, builders need to be mindful of long-term repercussions from the storms, such as intensified material price increases and labor shortages.”

It is also interesting to note that builder confidence is so high when the hurricanes have eaten up a lot of the construction labor available to builders with flood restoration and home repair.  Some construction companies have one year and year and a half waiting lists for hurricane-related home repairs. In fact, the typical number of new home permits issued in Houston in a year has been surpassed by the number of permits requested for home repairs.

The price of lumber is also up 21% and is expected to continue to rise. However, builders are also seeing a surge in demand for new homes after the hurricanes, so this has probably helped with builder confidence levels during this month.

The exact numbers of the three survey factors are as follows: current sales conditions rose five points to 75. Sales expectations over the next six months also rose five points to 78. The component measuring buyer traffic rose just one point to 48 and is the only measure in negative territory.

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A list of the 21 green building products or practices used per the standards of the National Green Building Standard Certification include solar water heaters, passive solar design, energy management systems, reused or salvaged materials, smart appliances, prefabricated components, building materials driven from renewable resources, recycling construction waste, building materials with recycled content, alternatives to dimensional lumber, 0-50 Natchez Trace Overviewon-demand water heaters, materials from regional suppliers, water conserving faucets and fixtures, efficient construction techniques that minimize material usage, moisture control measures to enhance durability, improving the home’s thermal envelope, duct systems designed to minimize leakage, ENERGY STAR® appliances, programmable thermostats, high efficiency HVAC systems, and low-e windows.

According to a survey of 337 single-family builders, builders of this survey averaged using 10.2 green products or practices in the new homes that they built.  Topping the list at 95% of builders using this green product were low-e windows.  Other very popular items included high efficiency HVAC systems at 92% of builders, programmable thermostats at 88%, ENERGY STAR® appliances at 80%, and duct systems designed to minimize leakage at 78%.

Improving the home’s thermal envelope, which is a practice that Ron Lee Homes strongly endorses came in at 67%, as well as moisture control measures to enhance durability and efficient construction techniques that minimize material usage.

Interestingly, all builders surveyed said that they used at least one green building product. Builders have the voluntary option of actually getting a green certification of the new homes that they build.  Programs such as ENERGY STAR®, LEED, and programs run by state or local jurisdictions allow a builder to certify their home a green standard.  Of the surveyed builders, 22% said that they always or almost always get this certification. Ron Lee Homes is a Certified Green Builder through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).  Our new homes are tightly construction to minimize as many effects of the environment on the home as possible.  Contact Ron Lee Homes today to find out about designing and building using green products and practices.  Call 985-626-7619 or E-mail

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Ron Lee Homes in St. Tammany Parish is one of the elite builders in Covington, Louisiana, which builds fully custom new homes with spectacular finishes.  Inside or out, these new homes are built with intense attention to detail to make sure that every minute finish is construction with as much perfection as possible.  Many of the interior amenities of custom homes built by Ron Lee Homes are imported materials or custom built materials that are installed by specialty contractors.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), this type of new home construction actually Overview of 79 Oleander Courttrends with national averages in that 29.6% of the cost of construction is spent on interior finishes.  The rest of the breakdown in construction costs are as follows: framing (18.0 percent), exterior finishes (15.0 percent), major system rough-ins (13.1 percent), foundations (11.6 percent), final steps (6.8 percent), site work (5.6 percent), and other costs (0.5 percent).

When calculating the cost to build a new, single-family home, the NAHB surveyed builders with its Cost of Construction Survey and found that new homes built on approximately 1/2-acre lots with 2,802 square feet had a sales price of $468,318.  61.8% of that sales price encompassed the cost of the construction of building the new home which is only .1% higher than the costs reported in 2013.

Interestingly, the cost of the lot and the cost of finishing the lot made up a large chunk of the expense of building in the total percentages spent of the sale.  Land in St. Tammany Parish has a premium price compared to more 3-79 Oleander Living 2northern and western parishes in Louisiana as well.

At the same time as this data has been released by the NAHB, another analysis of construction spending says that total private residential construction spending for September increased 1.3% over August spending and 13% year-over-year.  The reason for this increase may also be the increase in the cost of materials as well. However, single-family home permits and starts are up as well, so the money put back into the economy in the form of materials purchases as well as employment is up across the board nationwide – a good sign for the real estate market.

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Custom home building is going strong in Louisiana and at Ron Lee Homes in West St. Tammany Parish. The 2014 Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC) reports that 34 percent of the homes built in the South Central Region were custom built.  This means the home was built for you the owner, by a custom home builder, who will either build on your lot or build on a lot owned or purchased by the builder in the area of your choice in St. 1-54 Maison du Lac Exterior 1Tammany Parish. The other 66 percent were spec homes (speculatively-built homes) meaning they were houses built for sale or houses finished on a builders’ lot, ready for a home buyer to purchase. The house was sold to the potential buyer at one total sales price instead of selling the house and selling the land separately.

The SOC defines new home starts into several different categories which include houses built for sale, houses built by contractors, homes built by owners and for rent houses.  Not only does the SOC report if the houses are built for sale, by contractors, owners or for rent, they also report if the new home starts are being built in a community development with a homeowner’s association (HOA).  The HOA is created while the development is being built, and then ownership is turned over to a homeowner board which enforces private deed restrictions and maintains common areas.  In 2014 it is reported that 58 percent of single-family homes were built in a community with a homeowner’s association.

Why the uptick in the custom home market?  Many speculate that the limited builders’ means to borrow money 3-lot-199-bedic-creek-exterior-front-3via Acquisition Development and Construction (AD&C) loans have put a damper on their ability to purchase land, build a home on the land and sell the house to a potential buyer. Borrower restrictions are not new, so custom home building is the logical route to take for any builder that has vast experience and “comfort” in being able to build custom.  It was estimated that in 2014 one in four new home starts were custom homes. The custom home market is still on the rise and has reached levels above 2012-2013 but is still below the 2008-2011 levels.

At Ron Lee Homes, we build custom homes in many different subdivisions in the area including Terra Bella Village, Bedico Creek Preserve, Maison du Lac, and many more.  These communities also have established homeowners associations as well, and have lots available to buy and build a new custom home.  If you are interested in designing and having the home of your dreams built in St. Tammany Parish, Contact Ron Lee Homes at 985-626-7619 or e-mail

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