Housing Affordability Drops as House Prices and Interest Rates Rise

Today’s photos are those of Archival Designs‘ Luxury Ranch House Plan, Rio Grande.

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Strengthening house prices and increased interest rates in metro areas across the country contributed to lower housing affordability in the third quarter, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), released on Nov. 14.

In all, 64.5% of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of July and the end of September were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $64,400. This is down from the 69.3% of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the second quarter, and is the largest HOI decline since the second quarter of 2004.

“Housing affordability is being negatively affected by a ‘perfect storm’ scenario,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson. “With markets across the country recovering, home values are strengthening at the same time that the cost of building homes is rising due to tightened supplies of building materials, developable lots and labor.”

“The decline in affordability is the result of higher mortgage rates and the more than year-long steady increase in home prices,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “While affordability has come down from the peak in early 2012, the index still means a family earning a median income can afford 65% of homes recently sold. Some of the decline in the affordability index could also be the result of a loss in some more modestly priced home sales as tight underwriting standards have limited purchases by moderate-income families.”

Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind., and Syracuse, N.Y. were tied as the nation’s most affordable major housing markets as 93.3% of all new and existing homes sold in this year’s third quarter were affordable to families earning the areas’ median incomes of $65,100 and $65,800, respectively. Meanwhile, Kokomo, Ind., claimed the title of most affordable smaller market, with 96.9% of homes sold in the third quarter being affordable to those earning the median income of $60,100.

For a fourth consecutive quarter, San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. held the lowest spot among major markets on the affordability chart. There, just 16% of homes sold in the third quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $101,200.

Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif. was the nation’s least affordable small market; only 20.3% of all new and existing homes sold there in the third quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $73,800. Please visit nahb.org/hoi for tables, historic data and details.

Choose from more than 400 house plan designs that we offer in a wide range of styles and sizes.  Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and palladian homes, English manor house plans, Tuscan-style Italian villas, French chateaux, and colonial house plans.  Our Tuscan-style villas range from 1800 to 14,814 sf, and Newport classic house designs range from 1500 to 5000 sf.  Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of the most impressive homes in the world.  Please feel free to search our house designs offered.  Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one could be just for you!

Sweet, Stylish Dreams

Archival Designs‘ Luxury Castle, Corrineaux Estate Master Bedroom

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What’s the secret to a gorgeous bedroom? The right blend of style and serenity that creates a pretty, but restful space, which is what these bedrooms do perfectly.

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Mixed, Matched, Perfect

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Solid neutrals mixed with patterned accents and shapely antique nightstands make the perfect case for how wonderful mixing and matching can be. Beige bedding and a neutral headboard are purchases you buy once and love forever, and they can easily be mixed with like-it-now accessories, accents, and colors.

What We Love: This bedroom captures global and glamorous in a real-life setting. Simple window treatments and gray walls mix with gold accents and international-inspired patterns for an overall look that’s stylish but laid-back.

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Bedroom Editing

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Hand-glazed woven raffia wallpaper wraps this bedroom in texture, while white wainscoting crisply contrasts the nubby texture of the upper walls. The wool blanket adds color, but the gray-based blue stripes almost read as neutrals.

What we love: A fearless sense of editing. Devoid of splashy colors and assumed staples, such as a bed skirt, this bedroom does minimalism in a soft, traditional way.

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Pretty in Pink

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Pink is the name of the game in this bedroom. The wall behind the bed is a metallic blush shade, while the other walls, headboard, and drapery panels bear only the slightest resemblance to pink. A lotus-pattern bedspread and limed oak desk bring structure to the airy space.

What we love: Shades of pink paired with polished accents carry a sophisticated, not saccharine, tone. Clean-lined furniture and graphic prints add substance to a sweet color scheme.

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Natural Beauty

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Decked out with natural textures and accented with splashes of bold, leafy green, this bedroom looks warm and inviting. The upholstered bed frame features a playful ikat pattern, which looks right on trend when paired with the statement-making sunburst mirror above.

What we love: The interplay of various woven textures gives this bedroom a rustic and refined character. Whether it’s the burlap curtains or the sisal area rug, every inch of the room is drenched with personality.

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Choose from more than 400 house plan designs that we offer in a wide range of styles and sizes.  Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and palladian homes, English manor house plans, Tuscan-style Italian villas, French chateaux, and colonial house plans. Our Tuscan-style villas range from 1800 to 14,814 sf, and Newport classic house designs range from 1500 to 5000 sf.  Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of the most impressive homes in the world.  Please feel free to search our house designs offered.  Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one could be just for you!

NAHB Federation Honors America’s Military Heroes

Monday, Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, and the NAHB federation salutes the sacrifices made by our nation’s military heroes as they risk their lives to preserve the freedoms we enjoy as American citizens.

NAHB’s members and HBAs around the country are making sure that these military heroes have homes to come back to by working with military support groups such as Homes for Our TroopsOperation Finally Home, theMilitary Warriors Support FoundationOperation Coming Home and other organizations. They are helping these military heroes realize their own American Dream of homeownership by renovating, building and donating accessible homes designed specifically for the needs of a combat veteran. Two new videos show how NAHB members provide homes for injured veterans and how the Building Systems Council provided one veteran with a mortgage-free home. Contact: Gwyn Donohue (800-368-5242 x8447).

Builder Confidence in the 55+ Market Continues to Improve

Builder confidence in the 55+ housing market showed continued improvement in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same quarter of last year, according to the most recent NAHB 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI) analysis, which was released on Nov. 7. All segments of the market – single-family homes, multifamily condos and multifamily rental – recorded strong increases.

There are separate 55+ HMIs for two of the three market segments. Each 55+ HMI measures builder sentiment based on a survey that asks if current sales, traffic of prospective buyers and anticipated sales for the next six months are good, fair or poor. An index number below 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as poor than good.

The single-family 55+ HMI increased 14 points to a level of 50, the highest third-quarter number since the inception of the index in 2008 and the eighth consecutive quarter of year over year improvements. The multifamily condo 55+ HMI rose 14 points to 37, also the highest level since the inception of the index. Additionally, all of the 55+ multifamily rental components showed strong gains in the third quarter.

“We have seen steady improvement in the 55+ housing sector as buyers and renters are attracted to new homes and communities that offer the lifestyle they desire,” said Robert Karen, chairman of NAHB’s 50+ Housing Council and managing member of the Symphony Development Group. “Although the market is significantly stronger than it has been in recent years, we still have a ways to go to get back to full production.”

According to NAHB Chief Economist Dave Crowe, “right now, the positive year over year increase in confidence by builders for the 55+ market is tracking right along with other segments of the home building industry. And like other segments of the industry, the 55+ market is improving in part because consumers are more likely to be able to sell their current homes, which allows them to buy a new home or move into an apartment that suits their specific needs.

Today’s photos are those of Archival Designs‘ Luxury Estate Plan, Essex House.

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Choose from more than 400 house plan designs that we offer in a wide range of styles and sizes.  Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and palladian homes, English manor house plans, Tuscan-style Italian villas, French chateaux, and colonial house plans.  Our Tuscan-style villas range from 1800 to 14,814 sf, and Newport classic house designs range from 1500 to 5000 sf.  Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of the most impressive homes in the world.  Please feel free to search our house desgins offered.  Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one could be just for you!

Kitchen Decorating Ideas

Archival Designs‘ Luxury Mansion House Plan Monclay.

With winter upon us, here are some ideas to freshen up your kitchen!

Cozy Up

Outfit your banquette or breakfast nook with an ensemble of pillows. These pretty additions will decorate the eating space when it’s not in use and provide an extra layer of comfort when you are gathered around the table.

Display Stylish Artwork

Even though a kitchen is called upon to be highly functional, that doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish. Display artwork like you would in aliving room or bedroom. Consider vintage food or grocer signs to add collected flair, or a pretty painting for a more elegant vibe.

All Lit Up

Adequate lighting is a must for the functional aspect of a kitchen, but fortunately, this important element can also be highly decorative. With so many styles available, you can make a truly unique statement with light fixtures. In this kitchen, a large oblong lantern fixture crowns the island, while a matching, smaller fixture hangs over the sink.

Update Your Chairs

Give old chairs a boost by re-covering the seats or adding new cushions. Choose a fabric that goes with other elements within the kitchen so your new addition blends seamlessly.

Get Creative with Paint

Kitchens typically don’t have a lot of wall space, thanks to cabinetry, backsplashes, windows, and doorways. Use limited wall space as a chance to display a color you might not otherwise choose for a large wall or whole room. Here, a sable brown colors the space above the windows, which grounds the light kitchen. Also, look to the “fifth wall” of a room — the ceiling — as a place to add color with paint.

Shelf Space

Activate the space in front of a window as bonus storage. Mount shelves in front of the window by either anchoring them to the wall or along the sides of upper cabinets. This handy solution can also block a not-so-great outside view while allowing light to come in from the window.

Kitchen Gallery

Make your kitchen feel more like a living space by incorporating nonkitchen items into your decor. Oversize decorative letters put a signature on this kitchen, as does a collection of personal objects. This display is in a niche out of the kitchen’s main work core to keep it out of the way of splatters and leave space for kitchen essentials to be stored where they are used most often. Look to the top of your cabinets as another place to insert style.

Ceiling Star

Upgrade an existing light fixture by crowning it with a ceiling medallion. These affordable pieces are available at home centers in a variety of styles and sizes. Plus, they can be painted and are easy to install.

Archival Designs‘ Luxury Mansion House Plan Chateaubriand.

Choose from more than 400 house plan designs that we offer in a wide range of styles and sizes.  Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and palladian homes,  English manor house plans, Tuscan-style villas, French chateaux, and colonial house plans. Our Tuscan-style villas range from 1800 to 14,814 sf, and Newport classic house designs range from 1500 to 5000 sf.  Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of the most impressive homes in the world.  Please feel free to search our house designs offered.  Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one could be just for you!


Urge Your Members of Congress to Co-Sponsor the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act

Today’s photos are those of Archival Designs’ Luxury Mansion House Plan, Scarborough.


Call to Action: NAHB is asking members to contact their Senators and Representatives to urge them to co-sponsor the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, (H.R. 3370 and S.1610), which was introduced in Congress last week to address problems stemming from implementation of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act.

Implementation of the Biggert-Waters Act has caused serious affordability concerns due to significant increases in flood insurance premiums. There are also concerns related to remapping of the Flood Insurance Rate Maps. If not corrected, these issues will severely impact the sale and construction of new homes as well as remodeling in many communities across the nation.

When the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act was introduced on Oct. 29, Rick Judson noted that “NAHB commends Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Reps. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) for championing identical bipartisan legislation in the Senate and House that will provide relief from soaring flood insurance premium rates for countless home owners across the nation.”

The provisions in the insurance reform bill, Judson said, “will prevent undue hardship on the recovering housing market, help current and future policyholders keep their premiums affordable, prevent home values from dropping, and make the National Flood Insurance Program more effective for years to come.”

Learn more about the legislation in the current issue of NAHB’s Washington Update. Go to BuilderLink to write your Senators and Representative to urge their support of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act. Contact: Kedrin Simms Brachman (800-368-5342 x8413).

NAHB Weighs In on Proposed Credit Risk Retention Rule

NAHB scored an important victory for builders and home buyers in August when regulators withdrew a proposed qualified residential mortgage (QRM) standard that would have resulted in 20% downpayments becoming the market standard. At the time, the regulators set out a new proposal that would align the definitions of a qualified residential mortgage with the qualified mortgage (QM), a move that NAHB supports.

We followed up last week with extensive comments urging regulators to adopt a QRM standard that ensures safe mortgage lending and prudent underwriting standards and does not exclude large numbers of creditworthy borrowers from the opportunity to purchase a home. Specifically, we urged the federal agencies to adopt a revised definition of a QRM that equates with the definition of the QM that was included in the Ability to Repay standard scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 10, 2014. The QM provides sound underwriting criteria and excludes risky products such as negative amortization and no documentation loans, we noted in our comments. And importantly, the QM does not include a specific downpayment requirement.

NAHB also voiced strong opposition to a proposed alternative, called QM-plus, that would require a 30% downpayment and other more conservative underwriting criteria. In particular, NAHB is concerned that responsible consumers would be forced into more expensive mortgages simply because they do not have 30% or more for a downpayment.

Our comments also addressed commercial and multifamily real estate lending and urged the regulators to differentiate multifamily from other commercial real estate loans and to allow subordinate loans in order to ensure a stable and liquid market for multifamily financing. You can read NAHB’s extensive comments here. Contact:Jessica Lynch (800-368-5242 x8401).

Choose from more than 400 house plan designs that we offer in a wide range of styles and sizes.  Some of our more popular house designs include European-inspired Georgian and palladian homes, English manor house plans, Tuscan-style Italian villas, French chateaux, and colonial house plans.  Our Tuscan-style villas range from 1800 to 14,814 sf, and Newport classic house designs range from 1500 to 5000 sf.  Our starter castles, mansions and estate homes are designed in the grand tradition of some of the most impressive homes in the world.  Please feel free to search our house designs offered.  Our plans have been built around the globe, from Canada to Dubai, and one could be just for you!

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