New American Home to shine at Builders’ Show
Just outside of Orlando, Fla., a 4,181-sq.-ft. home with a clean, modern design is carrying on a tradition now its 29th year — the unveiling of The New American Home.
The project is sponsored by The National Association of Home Builders, organizers of the International Builders’ Show set for Orlando Feb. 8 to 11, and Builder magazine.
As NAHB’s official show home, TNAH gives building industry professionals an opportunity to see design trends, construction techniques, and materials that can be used in any new or remodeled home. The showcase products in the home are provided by members of the NAHB Leading Suppliers Council.
Phil Kean of Winter Park, Fla., the architect and builder of the 2012 home, tipped his hat to Classic White Box architecture of the 1960s and 1970s with his design for this year’s show home. Modern touches include certifications with the National Green Building Stardand (Emerald); US Department of Energy’s Energy Star certification; Flordia Green Building Coalition (Platinum); and a US EPA Indoor airPlus Qualified mark.
The house is built on an infill site in an older neighborhood close to downtown Winter Park.
Demand for alternative decking to rise
Demand for wood-plastic composite and plastic lumber, used in decking, railing, trim and other building materials, is projected to rise 13% per year until 2015, according to a report from The Freedonia Group. Advances will be driven by a rebound in construction expenditures from a depressed 2010 base, and growth will be boosted by increasing consumer demand for building products made from composite and plastic lumber, instead of more traditional materials, such as natural wood, according to the Cleveland-based industry research firm.
Decking, which was the leading application for composite and plastic lumber in 2010, will experience the greatest increase in demand through 2015. Other growth areas will include molding and trim, and windows. Demand for wood-plastic composite lumber will post more rapid gains than that for plastic lumber through 2015, advancing over 16% annually to $2.5 billion. Gains will be driven by ongoing consumer interest in composite lumber as a substitute for natural wood products in such applications as decking and fencing. Because wood-plastic composite lumber incorporates recycled materials, it will be seen as an environmentally friendly building material.
Plastic lumber demand is forecast to rise nearly 11% per year to $2.8 billion in 2015. Gains will be spurred by rising consumer interest in the material because of its low maintenance properties. The efforts of manufacturers to create plastic lumber with more realistic wood grain textures and surfaces will also support demand.
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Home prices keep dropping in Case-Shiller report
The S&P/Case-Shiller Index, a leading indicator of U.S. housing prices, showed home prices decrease in the second consecutive month in November 2011, posting annual returns of -3.6% and -3.7% in the 10-city and 20-city composites versus November 2010, worse than the -3.2% and -3.4% annual rates reported for October’s annual comparisons.
In month-over-month figures, the S&P/Case-Shiller 10-City and 20-City Composites both fell 1.3% in November 2011 versus October 2011. For a second consecutive month, 19 of the 20 cities covered by the indices also saw home prices decrease.
Atlanta continues to stand out in terms of recent relative weakness, as home prices there fell 2.5% over the month after having fallen by 5.0% in October, 5.9% in September and 2.4% in August. In addition, Las Vegas, Seattle and Tampa all reached new annual lows in November.
Minneapolis and Phoenix saw their annual rates improve. Detroit and Washington, D.C., were the only two cities to post positive annual returns of 3.8% and 0.5%, respectively, in November. While positive, both cities saw declines in month-over-month home prices in November compared with October.
“Despite continued low interest rates and better real GDP growth in the fourth quarter, home prices continue to fall,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices. “The only positive for the month was Phoenix, one of the hardest hit in recent years. Nationally, home prices are lower than a year ago. The trend is down and there are few, if any, signs in the numbers that a turning point is close at hand.”