When Mark Law took his job as the vice president of product innovation for HomLuv, it necessitated a move to Austin from Seattle. His wife was still in Seattle, in fact, when the couple also became one of HomLuv’s earliest users.

HomLuv.com is a visual search platform for new home buyers that takes the joy of Pinterest and Houzz and the practicality of your budget to make a tool that takes some of the hardest parts of picking a home builder and makes them disappear. (more…)

permian basin builders association

Master bedroom and bathroom of a home on the Permian Basin Builders Association Parade of Homes 2014, built by Ashingdon Homes. All photos: PBBA

In the Midland-Odessa area, there’s a big resource for business people in all aspects of residential and commercial construction, the Permian Basin Builders Association (PBBA).

This group is known for its two big annual events, the Home and Garden Show each February and the Parade of Homes each October. But they offer other benefits to members and homebuyers, as well, said member Travis Pate, Project Manager at Texas Classic Homes.

“The benefits are being able to know what is happening in the industry, being able to communicate as a group to the governmental entities, and being able to have a voice at state and national government entities, as well,” Pate said. “We have continuing education programs for builders, as we’re a social and philanthropic organization, as well.”

With many of their nearly 300 members small business owners, being part of a trade organization can help alleviate the “little fish in a big pond” feeling, Pate explained. Members often look to other members when they need services because there is a feeling of reliability.

“If somebody is willing to invest in themselves and their community to be a member and pay their dues, which are around $500, it probably means they are an upstanding person and have an upstanding business,” he said. “The analogy I use is that if parents are going to the bookstore or library and getting books on parenting, whether they read them or not, it probably means they’re pretty good parents to begin with.”

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5311 Quicksand

Home sales are slowing in Midland, with only 86 properties closing in February according to numbers from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. And while sales are sluggish, home inventory is higher than its been in almost 20 years at 866 homes.

“The slowdown we’re seeing in sold (homes) is … really just the product of the buyers being more cautious,” said Cameron Willmann, president of the Permian Basin Board of Realtors, in this Midland Reporter Telegram story. “So what that means for the market is, the buyers are going to take a lot more time to really decide what it is they want to invest their money in. Because of that, we’re obviously going to have fewer houses sold — plain and simple.”

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Homebuilder

With Western Texas Intermediate oil hovering around $45 a barrel, folks have been speculating about new home construction in Midland-Odessa and how layoffs and budget cuts might affect the spectacular boom of the past few years.

But while economists might raise a red flag, local homebuilders say pent-up demand and a more diversified economy are keeping the phones ringing and people signing on for new home construction.

“The demand is still the same as it has always been—everyone wants their home built yesterday,” said KC White, owner and president of KC White Homes, Inc. “More people outside of the oil world are calling my phone. There are more than just oilfield-related jobs here.”

Last year, 917 single-family building permits were issued to homebuilders for new residences in Midland, and 430 in Odessa, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. With the ink still wet on those contracts, builders don’t see a slowdown anytime soon. Many even have a waiting list.

Single family construction permits

Tight inventory is one of the biggest factors at play. With only 3.8 months of inventory in November 2014 (the most recent data available), the average home price in Midland was $301,500. Odessa had an even tighter market in that same month, with only 2.4 months inventory, and an average home price of $231,100. Jump to read more!

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some of my fave builders

We just have iphone pictures, but more are coming from Saturday night’s spectacular 2014 ARC Awards where the top home builders in Dallas were honored, feted and recognized. Each summer the annual Dallas ARC awards recognize home building excellence by associate members, remodelers and custom home builders who are members of the Association. Winners were named in 50 categories including Best Green Built Home, Best New Home, Remodeler of the Year and Custom Builder of the Year.

And our CandysDirt.com approved homebuilders just ran off with all the prizes! I am so proud of them! (more…)

VC Fireplace Web

Light Farms is a new home development in Celina that has been making waves for it’s community style and amenities. Still, many developers are slow to pull the trigger on new homes despite high demand.

Last week’s National Association of Real Estate Editors spring conference in Houston hosted a home building panel featuring Metrostudy’s Brad Hunter, David Weekley Homes CEO John Johnson, and Trendmaker Homes CEO Will Holder. While the panel was supposed to discuss the “boom” in homebuilding, the end result was a dissection of what fuels (or what’s not fueling, to be more precise) home building in America, and the takeaway was what trends and features consumers expect from home builders in the 21st century.

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Brad Hunter MetrostudyThe big takeaway from this morning’s homebuilding panel at the National Association of Real Estate Editors spring conference is that land — more specifically, the lack thereof — is responsible for our lagging new home inventory and the dearth of new home starts in the nation. And while the pool of potential homebuyers is relatively large and stable, low inventory is driving prices up, making starter homes out of reach for many first-time homebuyers.

“Housing starts are down because land is not available where builders want to build,” said Metrostudy’s chief economist, Brad Hunter. “Builders are plowing golf courses under and building houses.”

According to Hunter, the new home market is no longer suffering from distressed properties and demand is improving, but tight inventory is a huge problem. According to his figures, the Dallas/Fort Worth region has just less than 3,000 units of available housing inventory, which is approximately seven weeks of supply. Yikes!

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Viridian Exposure Master T&B A
With a standout modern style with clean lines and green sensibilities, Bauhaus Custom Homes is in demand as more clients look to ad cost-effective and energy efficient design to their homes. Kleinmann offers designs that make the most of a site and its natural resources, using passive solar for heat and light, as well as a host of other features that keep a home’s ecological footprint low without sacrificing high style. (more…)