Categories: Home builders

The Slow Growth of Home Construction

Posted by: Prashant Gopal on October 20

Don't expect a rebound in home construction anytime soon. New building permits for single-family homes fell 3% in September, the Commerce Department said today. Builders are likely anticipating a drop...

Homebuilders Planning for Brighter Future

Posted by: Prashant Gopal on September 04

Hovnanian Enterprises disappointed Wall Street this week with an earnings report that showed deep revenue and profit declines. But CEO Ara Hovnanian, who said that new home contracts have improved...

Home warranties on foreclosed properties are booming

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 08

Good post by Steve Cook on his blog Real Estate Economy Watch on the boom in home warranties, especially the ones that buyers of foreclosed properties are paying for. Not...

Tata's Nano Home: Company behind world's cheapest car to sell $7,800 apartments

Posted by: Prashant Gopal on May 07

Tata, the Indian company that made worldwide headlines with its $2,000 Nano car, now plans to build 1,000 tiny apartments outside Mumbai that will sell for $7,800 to $13,400 each....

California Home Tax Credits Have an Expiration Date

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on April 21

I just got this friendly reminder from builder Pardee Homes (interestingly enough a division of lumber giant Weyerhauser) that California's $10,000 tax credit for people who buy new homes in...

Visiting a New Home Sales Center

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on April 09

Times have been gloomy for new home builders lately. But yesterday’s big merger between Pulte and Centex shows there’s still life in the business. As part of my recent...

Pulte Acquires Centex Homes

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on April 08

Pulte and Centex announced today that they would merge to become the largest player in the homebuilding industry, dwarfing rival D.R. Horton. The $3 billion stock-for-stock merger is a...

Builder Offers No-Risk Condos

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on March 25

Atlanta developer Cousins Properties is promising to return any down payments to condo buyers if their property declines in value over the next three years. The program is being offered...

New Home Builder D.R. Horton Has Short Sales

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on March 06

We all know homebuilders are hurting. And Dallas-based D.R. Horton, the nation's largest, has a clever marketing pitch. It's been advertising "short sales" to compete with the thousands of...

Former KB Home Chief Indicted

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on March 05

Bruce Karatz, the former chairman and CEO of KB Home, was indicted on 20 counts of fraud and making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection...

Toll Brothers Reports Lower Losses

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on March 04

Toll Brothers, the big luxury home builder headquartered in Philadelphia, announced a surprising shrinking of its losses today. It reported losses of $88 million in this fiscal year’s first...

When the recovery in home building comes, it could be massive

Posted by: Prashant Gopal on February 19

With home building grinding to a halt, some analysts are beginning to discuss the size of the potential recovery. Analysts at Wheaton-Ill.-based First Trust Advisors are predicting that the rate...

Home Builder Shows Really Small Homes

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on February 17

In this brutal housing market, new home builders are thinking small, small, small. For decades the average size of a U.S. Home had been rising, from 1,700 square feet...

A New Way To Run Home Auctions

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on February 02

Real estate auctions are all the rage these days as banks and developers need to unload property fast. But William Stevenson, a former executive at the Beverly Hills-based real estate...

Bad news keeps coming: Housing starts hit record low

Posted by: Prashant Gopal on January 22

The latest housing starts data from the U.S. Commerce Department is sobering. Both the production of single-family homes and new building permits fell by double digits in December, reaching a...

Lennar and Minkow Duke it Out

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on January 09

Home building giant Lennar Corp. is finding itself in a war of words with Barry Minkow, the former stock swindler who now runs an entity called the Fraud Discovery...

New Home Starts Worst Since World War II

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on December 22

Ratings agency Standard & Poors has more bad news for homebuilders. The firm expects their results to keep deteriorating and has 18 of the 22 companies it follows on...

A Housing Complex that lacks Water

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on December 15

The Los Angeles Times today has a fascinating story about a housing development in Lancaster, a Mojave desert community north of Los Angeles, where the homes don't have adequate water....

Unions Targeting Homebuilders

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on December 09

As if homebuilders don't have enough trouble trying to stay solvent in this market, labor activists led by the 10 million member Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) are...

Hovnanian Debt Offer Rejected

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on November 26

Hovnanian, the big New Jersey-based homebuilder, got a big no thanks from its bond holders this week. The company had tried to reduce its massive $1.6 billion debt load by...

If the home builders are nervous, what does that mean for the rest of us?

Posted by: Prashant Gopal on November 19

The builders are about as pessimistic as they've ever been. Yesterday, we learned that the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which tracks builder sentiment, fell to...

Searching for the Bottom at the Home Builders' Show

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on November 14

I visited the Building Industry Association of Southern California’s annual trade show in Long Beach, Calif. yesterday. This is the big show for Southern California homebuilders, where suppliers of...

Housing starts were bad in September, but just wait until October's data is released

Posted by: Prashant Gopal on October 17

Housing starts dropped 6.3% in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 817,000 -- the second lowest level of all time just behind the rate in September 1991, the...

Inside the House of Blues

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on August 18

Citigroup analyst Josh Levin picked a gutsy time to initiate coverage of home builder stocks. It’s telling too that he called his first report House of Blues. Levin paints...

Union of construction laborers sounds off on subprime

Posted by: Peter Coy on August 06

Guest blog by BusinessWeek Associate Editor Mara Der Hovanesian, who has closely followed the housing bubble and bust: Some of the hardest hit neighborhoods across America are ones that never...

Is home construction activity really up?

Posted by: Prashant Gopal on May 16

Let me quickly dispel any notion that the 8.2% surge in housing starts in April reported by the Commerce Department on May 16 was a positive sign for real estate,...

California builders aren't building

Posted by: Prashant Gopal on April 25

Home production in California is grinding to a halt. The number of single-family home permits dropped 61% to 8,189 during the first quarter of this year compared to the...

A really, really, really bad time to be a carpenter

Posted by: Peter Coy on April 16

The March report on housing construction was even worse than economists expected. Starts on construction of homes fell twice as much as expected. They dropped 11.9% in March from...

Housing cycles: lessons learned

Posted by: Peter Coy on April 03

Take a few minutes to watch a pretty baby-blue house that's for sale ask a wise old bespectacled brown house for advice. It's in this instructional cartoon by John...

Related's $2,700-per-square foot score

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on February 22

Related Cos' chief Stephen Ross must be breathing a sigh of relief. The New York City-based developer is famous for building the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle. He just...

Homebuilder Toll Brothers keeps dancing downhill

Posted by: Peter Coy on February 06

In December 2006, CEO Robert Toll of luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers issued a statement that is destined to live in housing bubble infamy: “Fifteen months into the current slowdown, we...

A Builder to Buy?

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on December 20

Homebuilder shares took another beating yesterday after Hovnanian Enterprises announced a wider than expected loss and saw its stock price fall 17%. "Fiscal '08 will clearly be a difficult...

That sinking feeling--on the cover of BusinessWeek

Posted by: Peter Coy on October 05

Do yourself a favor and read the cover story in the latest edition of BusinessWeek. It's called "That Sinking Feeling: As builders slash prices, homeowners are getting slammed." It's...

Bill Miller on why he bought housing stocks (too soon)

Posted by: Peter Coy on September 14

Legendary investor Bill Miller likes to buy out-of-favor stocks, and it's hard to think of any stocks that are outer-of-favor (is that English?) than those of homebuilders. Only trouble...

Home Builders Meet Dr. Phil

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on September 05

With homebuilders in the middle of a major slump, it's worth taking a look back at something called the Public Home Builders Council of America. Not to pick on them,...

Homeowners Get Angry, Web-Savvy

Posted by: Maya Roney on August 07

Have you noticed? It’s blame-the-builders week on BusinessWeek.com! Magazine editor Mara Der Hovanesian wrote a great cover story on home builders’ pushy lending practices, and another article on shoddy construction....

Bonfire of the Builders

Posted by: Dean Foust on August 07

I'd be remiss if I didn't point readers of this blog to a package of stories that appears in this week's print edition of BusinessWeek (the text of which is...

No Turnaround this Year for Housing Starts

Posted by: Maya Roney on July 18

Today we learned that housing starts rose 2.3% in June to a rate of 1.467 million units. But we know by now to ignore such news. In May, starts fell....

Tales From The Water's Edge

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on July 15

My Mother and her friends visited the beautiful new Water's Edge community on the Manasquan River in Point Pleasant, New Jersey last week. It's being developed by Pulte Homes,...

D.R. Horton: So Much for the Power of Positive Thinking

Posted by: Peter Coy on July 10

If wishing could make it so, homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc. would be hammering its way to untold riches. In the spring of 2006, even as the storm clouds were beginning...

NAHB Index: Canary in a Coal Mine--or Not?

Posted by: Dean Foust on June 19

Does housing drive the economy? Well, to a small extent, yes. Does it help drive the stock market? Good question. Some market pundits have been opining that if home values...

Housing Starts Down Again: Outlook Worsens

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 19

It's not worth anyone's time to pore over the monthly data on housing starts because the numbers fluctuate a lot, and you can look stupid extrapolating from what turns out...

Homebuilders Are Feeling Deflated

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 18

Homebuilders are the most pessimistic they've been since February 1991, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which was released today. If you're into numbers,...

A Mystery: Why So Many Carpenters?

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 01

One of the greatest mysteries of the housing slump is why there have been so few layoffs in residential construction. The mystery deepened today when the Bureau of Labor Statistics...

The next trend in real estate?

Posted by: Dean Foust on May 30

Had a chance recently to catch up with a friend who is a real estate attorney (representing developers of various ilk). We talked about the homebuilders, and he surprised me...

Housing Starts Up, But Permits Still Falling

Posted by: Peter Coy on March 20

Starts on construction of single-family homes rose 9% in February, the government said today. But before you get too excited that the bust is over, consider this: The increase was...

Homebuilder Confidence Sags

Posted by: Peter Coy on March 19

With their subprime customers getting frozen out of financing, can you blame homebuilders for getting a little more worried? The National Association of Home Builders reported today that the NAHB/Wells...

Housing Starts: Borrowing from the Future?

Posted by: Peter Coy on January 18

Don't be overly impressed by the government's report today that housing starts in December rose 4.5%, while permits were up 5.5% for their first increase in 11 months. The report...

Homebuilder Stocks Down From Their Highs

Posted by: Peter Coy on December 08

I have an article in the latest issue of BusinessWeek contrasting the perspectives of Wall Street and Main Street in the housing market. I say that potential homebuyers on Main...

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble. The Good News for Construction Workers

Posted by: Peter Coy on November 22

The housing market is a turkey, but construction workers have plenty to be thankful for this holiday. Surprisingly, construction employment has fallen only a tiny bit by one measure and...

Merrill Lynch's famous chart isn't as bad as it looks

Posted by: Peter Coy on September 26

Let me start off by saying that the following isn't meant as a criticism of David Rosenberg, Merrill Lynch & Co.'s chief North American economist. He produces some of the...

Homebuilding Innovation Lags

Posted by: Peter Coy on September 14

We're going through a big home remodeling and addition so I've gotten an up-close look at some of the new technologies being used in homebuilding. For example, with copper so...

J.D. Power New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Study

Posted by: Peter Coy on September 13

Just out today: the 2006 J.D. Power New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Study. If you're thinking of buying a new home, you owe it to yourself to check out this rich...

Builders keep retrenching

Posted by: Peter Coy on September 01

Here's what Global Insight economist Patrick Newport says about today's data on July construction spending: Construction spending fell 1.2% in July. The deteriorating housing market accounted for most of the...

A Concrete Problem: Middle-Income Housing

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 09

The soaring price of cement is having a disproportionate effect on lower-middle to middle-income families. Why? Because the denser housing that tends to get built for them uses lots...

More 'Green' Builders

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 07

Green construction is still a sliver of the housing market, but it's a fast-growing sliver. A survey by McGraw-Hill Construction and the National Association of Home Builders released yesterday says...

Homebuilder Mood Worst Since 1995

Posted by: Peter Coy on May 15

Growing pessimism among builders. Today the National Association of Home Builders announced that in May its index of builders' perceptions of sales conditions dropped to its lowest since mid-1995. To...

Opportunity in Homebuilder Stocks?

Posted by: Toddi Gutner on May 08

Here’s a stock tip. Check out the homebuilder stocks. Why? Let me explain: Last week, Mara Der Hovanesian authored Handicapping the LBO Stakes which created a list of stocks that...

Back Under 2 Million

Posted by: Peter Coy on January 19

No question--housing construction is slowing. The Census Bureau said today that starts on privately owned housing in December ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.93 million units. That's...

An Overhang of New Houses?

Posted by: Peter Coy on December 20

Just when it looks like housing construction is finally going to cool off we get another number like today's stat from the government. Construction began in November on 2.12 million...

More New Homes for Sale

Posted by: Peter Coy on November 29

Housing bulls are happy about today's Commerce Dept. report on new home sales. They were up 13% from September, seasonally adjusted, and up 9% from a year ago. What's more,...

Finish That House on Schedule ... Or Else

Posted by: Peter Coy on November 22

What's one of the things that most angers buyers of new homes? When builders miss their deadlines. That's what emerged from a survey of customer satisfaction with homebuilders that was...

Should have seen this coming...

Posted by: Dean Foust on November 09

In case you missed it yesterday, Toll Brothers--a big builder of luxury homes in the Northeast region--warned that there may be a softening of demand for housing. That was enough...

About

BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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