Better, Not Bigger In a recent survey from the NAHB, a majority of new home buyers said they preferred quality over quantity. When given a choice between a smaller house with high-quality features and a larger house with fewer amenities, 63 percent of the buyers surveyed gave up space for luxury. The following topped their wish-lists:

  • Well-designed kitchens that include a walk-in pantry, island work area, special use storage, and built-in microwave
  • Kitchens that are visually open to the family room, with either a half wall or no division at all
  • Bathrooms equipped with features such as a linen closet, exhaust fan, and a separate shower enclosure
  • Nine-foot ceilings
  • Brick exterior
  • PCBC Tops Trade Shows

    PCBC, The Premier Building Show, ranked 142nd on Tradeshow Week magazine's list of the nation's largest trade shows. Because the survey ranks shows in terms of net square footage of exhibit space, PCBC 2005's additional 20,000 square feet of exhibit space is expected to push the show further up the list next year. The show, now in its 47th year, is the nation's largest regional home building trade show and conference, having attracted roughly 30,000 industry professionals to San Francisco this year.

    Va. Goes Impact Fee Free Virginia developers are no longer required to pay a cash proffer, which is similar to an impact fee, before getting a building permit, according to a new state law that takes effect this month. A proffer differs from an impact fee in that it is theoretically voluntary and the funds often go into an area's general fund rather than being used for the specific development for which the proffer is paid.

    Karatz ‘Turns Around' TV KB Home chairman and CEO Bruce Karatz was a featured mentor on CNN's new business-focused reality show, The TurnAround. The show pairs an industry heavyweight with a small business owner looking to take his or her business to the next level. For three days, 30-year home building veteran Karatz worked with Ben Morey, founder of the Southern California remodeling and construction firm, Morey Construction, to revamp the company. Together, the two men worked diligently coming up with strategies to revamp the company and improve operations. Morey says Karatz provided him with some useful insight regarding setting up a showroom [and] improving marketing materials and service pricing. “What [Karatz] was was a no-fee consultant to the business,” says Morey of the experience. For Morey, the show was invaluable because Karatz gave him “confirmation that we're headed in the right direction,” he explains.

    From High School to Homeownership One in four young adults under the age of 25 currently owns a home, reports the U.S. Census Bureau. The figure represents a 59 percent jump in ownership from 1995 to 2004. Low mortgage rates, a variety of flexible mortgage products–including no-down-payment loans–and tax deduction incentives have lured younger people into the buyer's market. The combination of these factors has made buying a cheaper alternative to renting. Moreover, many lenders have loosened some purchase guidelines, allowing borrowers to reserve up to 45 percent of their incomes for mortgage payments.

    Lennar Upgraded Standard & Poor's Ratings Services recently raised Miami-based Lennar's corporate credit rating from BBB- to BBB. S&P also announced that the new rating is based on approximately $1.6 billion of senior unsecured notes and $300 million of unsubordinated notes. CFO Bruce Gross said in a press release, “We are pleased with S&P's recognition of our solid operating performance, strong prospects for fiscal 2005, and strategic land holdings, which position us for future growth.”

    Fun Facts for the 4th As Americans fire up the back yard barbecue to celebrate life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness this Fourth of July, they also honor the American dream of home-ownership. Here are a few facts that give a “builder” perspective on the traditional Independence Day celebration:

  • Out of the 1.2 million new homes sold last year, roughly three out of four now have a barbecue grill.
  • For every housing start made last year, Americans this Fourth of July will consume 931 hot dogs.
  • For every 14 tons of cement used in the construction of a single home, more than 1,300 tons of cattle were produced last year in Texas for consumption as hot dogs, steaks, and burgers.
  • The average homeowner will consume 17.2 pounds of potato chips or shoe strings (fries) this year.