May 30, 2011
Nation's Building News

The Official Online Weekly Newspaper of NAHB

Top Story
Ending a Federal Role for Housing Finance Would Destabilize Market, Congress Told

With some members of Congress actively pushing to abolish Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and end the federal backstop for housing, NAHB on May 26 told Congress that maintaining an appropriate level of government support is absolutely essential for preserving the stability of the nation’s housing finance system.

Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee, NAHB First Vice Chairman Barry Rutenberg said that absent a federal role to help reassure mortgage market investors, the cost and availability of mortgage credit would be subject to unpredictable volatility.

"The historical record from the 1998 Russian crisis to the tragedy of Sept. 11 clearly shows that the private sector is not capable of providing a consistent and adequate supply of housing credit without a government backstop," said Rutenberg. Read More

Lumber Prices Provided by Random Lengths
Framing Lumber Composite $ 259 $ 2
OSB Composite $ 195 $ 3
Southern Pine Plywood Composite $ 405 $ 5
With permission from: www.randomlengths.com      
Layouts For Living
Floor Plans: Modular Interpretation Brings Colonial-Era Farmhouse Into 21st Century

In historic Concord, Mass., not too far from where a handful of Minutemen loaded their muskets and fired upon 700 advancing British Army regulars during the opening salvo of the Revolutionary War, there stands a modern interpretation of a colonial-era home styled after a New England farmhouse.

The four-bedroom, 3,800-square-foot modular home — manufactured by Preferred Building Systems and built by Sterling Homes Development Corp. — features a farmer’s front porch with painted balusters, a mudroom, crown molding, chair rails and hand-built cabinets — much like its 18th century predecessors. But that’s where the similarities end. ... Read More

An Open Mind and Industry Support Keep Five Builders Very Much Alive

Participating in a May 18 discussion panel during NAHB’s spring board meeting in Washington, D.C., five builders described how they have succeeded against difficult odds in keeping their businesses going and positioning them for the new markets slowly emerging from the rubble of one of the most challenging housing downturns imaginable.

Reminiscing about what it was like 20 years ago when his new custom home building business was struggling to get off the ground, Dean Mon, president and CEO of D R Mon Group of Shrewsbury, N.J., said, “I remember not even having enough money to buy a can of soup.”

Networking — and joining his local home builders association — was his salvation. “You need to get out of your house and go network with the other builders,” he said.... Read More

Glass Products React to Heat and Light, Provide New Designs and Textures

These days, glass is more than just melted sand. Not only have manufacturers figured out how to make it beautiful with patterns and textures, they’ve also managed to make it filter out UV rays while letting light in.

They’ve even produced glass that can darken and brighten at the touch of a button, or in response to light and heat levels.

There are undoubtedly more innovative surprises in store going forward, but here are some of the newest from members of NAHB’s Leading Suppliers Council.

Daylight to Shade at the Flip of a Switch

Electrochromic glass can transition from a clear state to a tinted state. This feature lets daylight pour into a space — minimizing the need for interior light — or keeps the hot sun out and the A/C from cycling on.... Read More

Housing Snapshot
Interest Rates  
30-Yr. Fixed: 4.60% 15-Yr. Fixed: 3.78% 5 Yr. ARM: 3.41%
1 Yr. ARM: 3.11% Libor (3 months): 0.25% Prime: 3.25%
Housing Starts*  (April 2011)
Total: 523,000 Single: 394,000 Multi: 129,000
Home Sales*  (April 2011)
New: 323,000 Existing: 5.05 million  
Median Home Prices  (April 2011)
New: $217,900 Existing: $163,700  
* Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate

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