2012 New Home Prices…Going Up?

If I’ve said it once, I have said it 1000 times. Follow the new home market for insight on the overall market. Understanding what is being spent on a new homes is valuable information. There is a relationship between the value of new homes and resale homes.

That being said, there is some very interesting information coming out of the new home market right now. When it comes to new home values, there are many angles to consider.  Overall residential supply, availability of land, short sales and foreclosures, and cost of construction all have impact on values.  For some time now, lack of confidence and declining housing starts have kept construction costs down.  That may have just changed.

From Drew Holzwarth of Piedmont Realty and Construction

“This has been an interesting week for a variety of reasons.  The positive industry news in the media, with several industry analysts calling the bottom of the housing market, has led to a building production manufacturer reaction that I expected.  Anemic margins have been achieved by suppliers, contractors and builders alike the past few years in the real estate market.  The fourth quarter of 2011 has been highlighted with attractive corporate profits in other industries that  have lifted the equities  markets and increased consumer confidence.  This positive global news has led to Analysts who follow our industry to say that we have hit the bottom and there should be a slow climb from this point.   I fully expected our national building material suppliers to pounce on this news and they have.  On Wednesday, all 3 national drywall suppliers – the only ones left that produce drywall in the United States announced price increases – all the same – all 35% increases, Effective immediately.   In my career of following pricing of building products, I have never seen this level of a price increase.  The bumps are historically 5%  to a maximum of 10%.  Their only competition is Chinese Drywall…..pass.    On Friday, Timberline and Tamko announced a 15% increase on roofing products.  This week, I expect, similar increases from Fiberglass insulation, PVC plumbing pipe, lumber, and cement – raising concrete prices.  Crazy and frustrating.  The market remains challenging and homebuilders will have to continues to stay relevant and sell value in order to justify building new vs. the value in buying resale homes.”

Holzwarth’s company is the largest privately held home builder in our area. Piedmont Realty and Construction closed 72 sales for just over $29 million in sales volume in 2011.

This is a very interesting development for certain and some builders will react faster than others. I read somewhere that builders will need to absorb these additional costs themselves. I don’t see that happening. From the builder’s I talk to, there really isn’t room. Over the last few months, new homes sales have been steady in our area with renewed, yet cautious, optimism going forward. Hopefully, the market can absorb these price increases and keep moving. We will see.

New home sales have represented roughly 20% of all sales in Albemarle County for the last 2 years. In many segments of the market, buyers are evaluating their choices and finding that  a new home, exactly the way they want with energy efficiency features, is a better value than their resale options. Today’s buyer is far more deliberate and long term minded than the buyer from just a few years ago.

It will be very interesting to monitor new home prices and their impact on sales in both the new home and resale markets. But as you can see from above, the builders and developers are working hard to be relevant in the market and respond to demand.  If you are considering a purchase in the coming months, be sure and get out there to see what is available new, even if for no other reason that the context it provides.

If you’d like to have a conversation about this market and your goals for buying or selling in 2012, feel free to contact me.