Housing news this week ranged from the unexpected (who knew Toyota built homes?) to the tragic, as a Georgia builder is charged with murder after shooting a drywall contractor he thought was a copper thief. It’s a sad and desperate story, as too many housing stories are these days.
Happily, the Wall Street Journal’s story on Toyota and its prefab housing operation is neither. Quirky and entertaining, the piece provides a peek into a future world that will open your mind and make you wonder what might be possible. Just consider this: “The car maker is testing an electricity-monitoring system in its homes that would charge the vehicle during off-peak hours to keep utility bills low, while the car's battery can serve as an electrical backup, powering the home during blackouts. Toyota engineers are also experimenting with using solar panels as house siding and powering homes with fuel cells, which combine hydrogen and air to produce electricity.” To me, it requires imagination to simply picture such a scenario, much less dream it up and push it into research and development.
But it’s also incredibly inspiring to see an example of such innovation and integration. As too many Americans wince at the pump and reconsider their decision to move to a new home in the suburbs, isn’t it time to think about some new ideas ourselves?--Alison Rice
NEW on BUILDER Online: What Will Happen Next?
Questions abound in today’s housing market. Will Countrywide have to pay damages? What will be the pace of new-home sales next month? Where will 30-year-fixed mortgage rates stand on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008, two days after we elect our next president? Make your predictions about these and other issues at BUILDER Online’s Prediction Center, now live at http://builderonline.predictify.com/PartnerPlatform8.aspx?P=221.
Check Housing Headlines From Coast to Coast
Want more local and regional news headlines? Visit BUILDER’s hand-picked housing headline feed at http://builderonline.tumblr.com/, which is updated daily with the latest links from major newspapers and regional business journals.
Boyce on Building: Turn for the Worse
Conversations at last week’s PCBC conference, coupled with recent builder surveys, indicate that new home sales took a turn for the worse in the last several weeks, choking cash flow and imperiling the lives of more home building companies. Almost at the same time, high-profile builder bankruptcy filings began to escalate. Which leads to the most frequent question I get right now: Is every private builder out there on the ropes today? http://www.builderonline.com/blogs/postdetails.aspx?BlogId=thompsonsblog&postId=84898
How Lehman Brothers Veered Off Course: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/02/AR2008070203343.html
Home Builders Hire Some Jumbo Lobbying Help: http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=5&docID=news-000002908427
Big Builders At Odds With NAHB: http://www.bigbuilderonline.com/industry-news.asp?sectionID=0&articleID=730646
Georgia Builder Shuts Its Doors: http://www.builderonline.com/economic-conditions/georgia-builder-shuts-its-doors.aspx
Localities to Lenders: Maintain Your Foreclosures in Good Condition: http://www.builderonline.com/legislation/localities-to-lenders-maintain-foreclosures.aspx
Residential Construction Sheds More Jobs in June: http://www.builderonline.com/economic-conditions/residential-construction-sheds-more-jobs-in-june.aspx
Florida Joins States Suing Countrywide Financial: http://www.builderonline.com/mortgages-and-banking/florida-joins-states-suing-countrywide.aspx
Taylor Wimpey Takes $1.3 Billion Writeoff: http://www.builderonline.com/economic-conditions/taylor-wimpey-takes-1-point-billion-writeoff.aspx
Florida Courts Can Now Conduct Foreclosure Sales Online: http://www.builderonline.com/mortgages-and-banking/florida-courts-can-now-conduct-foreclosure-sales-online.aspx
Resets Peaking on Subprime Loans: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/30/AR2008063001848.html?hpid=topnews
Business of Building
Toyota Throws More Weight Behind Its Homes Unit: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121496449430221935.html?mod=djemRealEstate John Laing Homes Consolidates in Northern California: http://www.builderonline.com/operations/laing-consolidates-in-northern-california.aspx
Construction Spending Dips Slightly in May: http://www.builderonline.com/housing-data/construction-spending-dips-in-may.aspx
Demand for Accessible Homes Will Rise: http://www.builderonline.com/active-adult/demand-for-accessible-homes-will-rise.aspx
Austin City Council Passes Weakened Visitability Rule: http://www.builderonline.com/bathroom/austin-city-council-passe-weakened-visitability-rule.aspx
New Jersey Likely to Adopt Affordable Housing Reform: http://www.builderonline.com/affordable-housing/new-jersey-likely-to-adopt-affordable-housing-reform.aspx N.J. Housing Rules Deplored: http://philadelphia.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/stories/2008/06/30/story2.html?f=et180&b=1214798400^1659912&ana=e_vert
Have You Heard?
Builder Faces Murder Case http://www.ajc.com/search/content/metro/stories/2008/07/01/copper.html
Got Feedback? Please e-mail any comments, questions, suggestions, and news tips to Denise Dersin, BUILDER’s Editor in Chief. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Orlando, FL.