Reframing Rays: Solar Companies Seek New Ways To Sell Panels

October 27, 2014

in Green Living,Lennar,News

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When Michelle Rose went hunting for a new home, she was looking for three bedrooms and baths, a nice floor plan and granite countertops. Solar panels weren’t on the list. Still, there they were on the model home in the Table Rock Ridge development being built by Lennar Homes in Golden, Colorado – at no extra charge. “I was excited,” Rose said. “I had looked at adding solar panels to my home, but the upfront expense was too high. When Lennar said they’d take care of the maintenance … it was a win-win,” said Rose, who expects to move into her new home with her two children in December. Lennar is installing solar panels on all the homes in new developments in Golden, Arvada, Castle Rock and Frederick. The solar panels add “to the curb appeal of a new home” and are an investment in “smart homebuilding,” said David Kaiserman, CEO of SunStreet Energy Group, the Lennar subsidiary managing the program. “This is just the beginning we see extending this program to more communities,” Kaiserman said. [Read this article]

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At Six-Year High, New-Home Sales Remain On Upward Track

October 24, 2014

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Sales of new homes in September rose slightly and hit a six-year high even though purchases earlier in the summer were not nearly as strong as initially reported. The pace of new home sales edged up 0.2% last month to an annual rate of 467,000, compared to a revised 466,000 in August, the government said Friday. New home sales in September were the highest since July 2008. And sales of new homes are 17% higher now compared to the same month in 2013, a sign that the housing market continues to get healthier. Home prices are rising at a slower pace and 30-year mortgage rates have fallen back below 4%, making houses somewhat more affordable. New-home sales averaged an annual rate of 446,000 in the third quarter, up 15% from the same three-month period in 2013. [Read this article]

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U.S. Existing Home Sales At One-Year High, Prices Up

October 22, 2014

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U.S. home resales raced to a one-year high in September, the latest indication the housing market recovery is gradually getting back on track. The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales increased 2.4 percent to an annual rate of 5.17 million units, the strongest reading since September of last year. That was above economists’ expectations for a rise to a 5.10 million unit pace and more than reversed August’s decline, which had pushed down sales to a 5.05 million unit pace. Housing is slowly regaining its footing after activity stalled in the second half of 2013 following a run-up in mortgage rates. While it continues to be hobbled by sluggish wage growth, a recent decline in mortgage rates should help support sales. [Read this article]

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The Need For Multigenerational Housing: The Numbers Are Growing

October 21, 2014

in Lennar,News

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In a recent article, Forbes highlighted the growing need for multigenerational housing in America today. Now, boomers have more attractive living options for sharing households, whether it’s to provide housing for their parents or to move in with their grown children and grandkids. The idea of multigenerational housing is as old as humanity. But mostly that has entailed sharing the same living space. According to a 2010 Pew Research report, 20% of people 65 and older live in a multigenerational household, and the numbers are growing. In response, major developers are getting into the multigenerational act. Lennar, a Miami-based developer, offers a line of homes with “NextGen” suites that include a private entrance, living room, eat-in kitchenette, bedroom and bath. [Read this article]

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Nationwide Housing Starts Top 1 Million For Third Time This Year

October 21, 2014

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For the third time this year, nationwide housing starts surpassed the million-mark, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. Total housing production in September rose 6.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.017 million units. “These numbers show starts returning to levels we saw earlier this summer, where they hovered around one million units,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly. “We are hopeful this pattern of modest growth will continue as we close out the year.” According to NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe: “I expect we will see a continued recovery as job creation grows and consumers gain more confidence in the housing market.” Single-family housing starts were up 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 646,000 units in August, while multifamily production climbed 16.7 percent to 371,000 units. [Read this article]

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Mortgage Rates Fall To 16-Month Low

October 16, 2014

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Mortgage interest rates took a dive to a 16-month low during a quiet week that included the Columbus Day bank holiday on Monday. The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.01 percent from 4.18 percent last week, according to the Bankrate.com national survey of large lenders. The last time it was lower was May 29, 2013, at 3.99 percent. One year ago, that rate was 4.42 percent. Four weeks ago, it was 4.33 percent. Whether lenders might have room to drop rates a bit further is an open question. Rates might remain range-bound for the remainder of the year, barring a major shift in the U.S. economy or global political situation, says Kirk Chivas, chief operating officer at First Commerce Financial. Consumers were slightly more optimistic about housing in September compared with August, according to the results of Fannie Mae’s latest monthly telephone poll of 1,000 U.S. homeowners and renters. The percentage of respondents who said now was a good time to buy a home hit 68 percent in September, a 4-point rise from August. [Read this article]

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5 Housing Trends For Fall 2014

October 10, 2014

in News,Tips

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It’s not a bad time to be a homebuyer. Just don’t think the odds will be on your side indefinitely. Mortgage standards, such as credit score requirements, have started to loosen, and mortgage rates remain low. If you are planning to buy, act quickly. The housing market is expected to heat up in coming months and rates will eventually rise – believe it or not. And this may be your last chance to lock a rate while mortgage rates are at the bottom. The Mortgage Bankers Association expects the 30-year fixed rate to climb to 4.5 percent by the fourth quarter of the year, according to the association’s latest forecast. That’s still an attractive rate, but if the MBA is right, the fixed rate will climb gradually, reaching 5 percent by mid-2015. If you are still looking for a home and are not ready to lock yet, you probably have a bit of time. But if you are trying to time the market or are hoping for rates to drop further, you have very little chances of succeeding with your bet, mortgage analysts say. [Read this article]

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America’s Newest Hipster Hot Spot: The Suburbs?

October 10, 2014

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It’s an idea echoed everywhere from “Friends” to “Girls”Young people want to live in cities. And, we’re told, a lot of them (at least the cool ones) do. It’s a common assumption. But it’s also wrong. Between 2010 and 2013, the number of 20- to 29-year-olds in America grew by 4 percent. But the number living in the nation’s core cities grew 3.2 percent. In other words, the share of 20-somethings living in urban areas actually declined slightly. This trend has occurred in supposedly hot cities like San Fransisco, Boston, New York and D.C., notes demographer Wendell Cox. Chicago and Portland, Ore., both widely hailed as youth boom-towns, saw their numbers of 20-somethings decline, too. According to the most recent generational survey research done by Magid and Associates, 43 percent of millennials describe the suburbs as their “ideal place to live,” compared to 31 percent of older generations. Only 17 percent of Millennials identify the urban core as where they want to settle permanently. [Read this article]

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A Rebound In Housing Demand Heading Into Fall

October 10, 2014

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September was a turnaround month for buyer demand. The latest Redfin data on broker activity shows that demand rebounded last month after a market-wide drop in homes for sale and new listings put a damper on home searches in August. The number of customers requesting tours with Redfin agents increased 2.2 percent in September versus four weeks earlier. Though the September uptick in tour requests was not as strong as last year, this late season pickup suggests that housing activity will hold steady through November before the seasonal slowdown in home searches over the holidays. “Buyers have a much better chance of getting a home, and more leverage to get a better deal”, says Mia Simon, a Redfin agent in Palo Alto, California. After a rough start to the year, lower competition and continued low mortgage rates encouraged homebuyers to restart their search after Labor Day and boosted late-season demand. [Read this article]

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Lennar, Denver’s 2nd Biggest Homebuilder, Launching Its Solar 20/20 Plan In Colorado

October 9, 2014

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Lennar, having put solar power systems on thousands of homes in about 100 California communities, is launching its Solar 20/20 Plan in Colorado. The Miami-based company will expand the California program to Colorado on Thursday at a ribbon cutting ceremony in Arvada. The program aims to bring renewable power to the masses by including solar power panels on every home it builds in selected communities, said David Kaiserman, the CEO of SunStreet Energy Group, Lennar’s subsidiary that’s overseeing the program. While solar power has been popular in Colorado and elsewhere, Lennar believes its Solar 20/20 Plan makes it easier for homeowners to access renewable energy, Kaiserman said. Under Lennar’s program, the solar power systems are included in the home and the homebuilder retains ownership of the systems. Homeowners sign a purchase-power agreement with SunStreet to buy the power produced by the systems at a 20 percent discount to the “prevailing utility rate.” There is no upfront cost to put the solar on the home, Kaiserman said. The homeowners also get a credit on their utility bill for power that’s produced by the system but doesn’t get used by the home, such as if the homeowner is away. [Read this article]

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