April 2007 Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Spring Cleaning Spring Cleaning

This past weekend (it is still March as I write this), I visited a couple of projects about 40 miles south of Washington in Virginia. Some years ago, Prince William County was considered to be a pretty long commute into the District of Columbia, but these days many folks make the daily drive in from even farther, from Stafford and Fredericksburg and beyond. The traffic to and from the city is horrendous and getting stuck on I-95, the main route to D.C., can be a nightmare. On the rare occasions I've had to make that trip during rush hours, I've always said to myself in frustration, “Why on earth would anyone choose to do this?” But the answer is simple. In a nutshell, it's because that's where the new homes and communities are that these commuters can afford. Read more

Appliance Futures

If you were among the many visitors at this year's International Builders' Show in February, there is one question you should have been asking yourself: What's next for the major appliances category? Read more

Bathing Beauties Bathing Beauties

Despite the housing slowdown, size, features, and high-end products in the bath (and the kitchen) are still important to consumers, reports the American Institute of Architects. This means that you can't skimp on the swank. Read more

Something More

As sales sank and cancellations crested last year, production builders insisted they could stem margin erosion by exacting concessions from their trade partners. And through the early months of 2007, suppliers confirmed that builders were pressuring them for price breaks; although, with some notable exceptions, that arm-twisting had yet to become as severe as anticipated. Read more

Return from Exile Disaster Relief Return from Exile

TEMPORARY HOUSING HAS A WAY OF BECOMING permanent, as evidenced by the fact that many South Florida residents still live in FEMA trailers more than a decade after Hurricane Andrew. An as-yet-unknown number of Katrina and Rita evacuees in Louisiana may sidestep that fate and return to their former neighborhoods now that a prototype for safer, more sustainable (and prettier) post-disaster housing has received federal funding. Read more

House Blend: April 2007

- Chairman and CEO of Trammel Crow Residential donates $5 million to the Urban Land Institute to create a center for work-force housing. - Emergency #811 to be operational in late April. The number will be used for builders who need to quickly contact local utility companies in case of emergency. - The Federal Highway Administration awards a $2 million contract to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to study the benefits of well-designed community transportation projects. Read more

Corporate Buy Out Or Not ...

Usually, where there's smoke, there's fire. But in the case of reports circulating the industry like wildfire in January, that Charlotte, N.C.–based Bank of America Corp. was in discussions to buy Calabasas, Calif.–based Countrywide Financial Corp., there was only smoke. Or so says Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis. Read more

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