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Improving housing markets grows by four

BY Brae Canlen

The list of U.S. housing markets that showed measurable and sustained improvement rose by four to include 84 metro areas in July, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI). This number includes representatives from 32 states plus the District of Columbia. 

The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. This month’s IMI includes 73 metros that held their positions on the list from June, as well as 11 newly added markets. Notable new entries include Prescott, Ariz.; Springfield, Mass.; St. Cloud, Minn.; and Houston. 

"The geographic diversity and growing number of metros on the latest IMI help spotlight the improvements we have begun to see in terms of home prices and job market conditions across certain parts of this country, which in turn are spurring more demand for new homes," said NAHB chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. "That said, our members continue to assert the need for more reasonable credit standards and more accurate appraisal methods to perpetuate this positive momentum."    

"The modest increase in the July IMI is encouraging because it indicates that individual housing markets continue to regain their footing despite some recent reports of weakening in the broader economy," added NAHB chief economist David Crowe. "This is evidence that the housing recovery is slowly but surely taking root, one market at a time." 

The three indicators that are analyzed to generate the IMI list are employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation from Freddie Mac and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau. A complete list of all 84 metropolitan areas currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in July, is available at nahb.org/imi.

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Report sees rising global demand for roofing

BY Ken Clark

World demand for roofing materials is forecast to grow 3.8% annually through 2016, a substantial acceleration from the lethargic performance of the market during the 2006 to 2011 period, according to a study released by The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.

Gains in demand will be fueled by a major uptick in residential building construction activity as construction industries in major developed nations, such as the U.S., rebound from their recent weakness, the study said. Further growth will be supported by continued gains in developing markets, particularly in Asia.

Two countries, the U.S. and China, will jointly account for nearly 60% of global gains in roofing demand through 2016. China, the world’s largest market for roofing products in 2011, will continue its trend of strong growth and account for more than 30% of world market gains. The U.S, which experienced a collapse in new housing construction beginning in 2006, will rebound significantly, but in 2016 the U.S. roofing market will still be slightly below 2006 levels. Strong growth is also expected in a number of smaller roofing markets, including those in India, Indonesia, and South Africa. Although some developed countries will see fast, rebound-fueled growth similar to the U.S., market gains will typically be slower than in developing areas. Western Europe will be the slowest growing regional roofing market through 2016.

The mix of roofing materials used tends to vary from country to country, but bituminous (asphalt) and tile (clay and concrete) products dominated the global market in 2011, together accounting for 70% of demand in area terms. 

Bituminous products will post the fastest growth through 2016, primarily due to the heavy usage of asphalt shingles in the rebounding U.S. market. The U.S., which uses shingles far more intensively than most other nations, will account for almost 80% of worldwide growth in demand for these products, thanks to a major recovery in new single-family housing construction.  Demand for concrete roofing tiles will also show strong growth, particularly in the developing Asia/Pacific region, where concrete tiles account for the largest share of roofing demand.

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Standard Pacific purchases 1,100-home site in N.C.

BY Brae Canlen

Standard Pacific Homes, one of the nation’s largest home builders, has purchased a 1,600-acre master planned community called The Palisades in the Charlotte, N.C., market. With plans to open in late 2013, the company will introduce all new home designs to the project, which contains 1,100 home sites. It is located next to Lake Wylie, Charlotte’s second largest lake and a popular recreational destination.

"Standard Pacific Homes plans to build its move-up oriented homes on approximately 50% of the home sites and sell the remaining home sites to other builders," said Peter Kiesecker, the company’s senior VP mergers and acquisitions. "We have already received tremendous interest from the home-building community. Many builders are anxious about the rare opportunity to build within a highly amenitized master-planned community complemented by this idyllic setting."

Standard Pacific Homes’ new home designs at The Palisades will feature large-scale open spaces, including gourmet kitchens that flow into expansive Great Rooms. The homes will also provide luxurious master suites featuring walk-in closets and elegantly appointed private bathrooms.

Standard Pacific Homes operates in major metropolitan areas in California, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Colorado.

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