Happy New Year! Now get up and grab that welder!

As the New Year dawns;

New Years Day 2016

I’m reminded that this IS the year for change. Many of us have spent long hours on the couch, saying things like;

“Woulda, coulda, shoulda…”

Look, you’re not getting any younger, my friends. All of us are caught up chasing the same clock. You know, that one that ticks off days, weeks and months of your life, as you sit idly by wondering where the year went.

And now… 2015 is GONE. As 2016 debuts, it’s time to dream, plan and then act.

Okay, okay… many of us will make New Years Resolutions that aspire “hope, change and challenge”…

But only a brave few of us will actually rise to the occasion and embark on that long, lonely road to happiness and fulfillment that requires almost immeasurable amounts of sweat, blood and tears… and the realization that success will actually require communicating at high levels with your significant other, your kids and (gasp!) your relatives.

We really didn’t have a choice. They pushed us into action!

The facts are;

While the administration and Congress touted growth in 2015, we just didn’t see it in our driveways.

The recession has left new home construction on shaky legs due to the less than robust economy, the scarcity of land to build on and the ever rising costs of construction… and IF you could overcome all those obstacles that same recession has left many families out of the buying market.

Those traditionalists who have purchased homes are bringing with it a new view on home ownership. Gone are the days of “swapping up in pursuit of that perfect abode”. What we’re seeing in the data is a sentiment that make homes far more durable as investments. People are buying “the good bones” and then remodeling that home to suit their family’s needs.

They’re digging in and they’re making no bones about it. (I know, I know… a pun. Go ahead and groan. It’s okay. I groaned a little bit too!)

“First timers” aren’t gonna revitalize the market either. Kids aren’t getting those degrees, getting married and then rushing out into high paying jobs that stimulate growth in the economy. Businesses simply aren’t building jobs to fuel a new economic revitalization.

Less than 30% of all home purchases last year were by First Time Buyers. In fact, it’s been that way for the last 19 months in a row. You can blame that on the economy, the fact that we’re not growing new jobs and that the future is uncertain despite optimistic claims to the contrary. Oh, I forgot to add Student Loans”. That’s a soul killer. Oy.

With housing prices and rents rising, many “first timers” are already struggling to save for down payments without splurging for extras. They’re still trying to get into the door.

Housing starts are always a good indicator that the economy is moving the right direction. But new housing construction isn’t exactly setting any records either. The only real growth has been in… you guessed it… rental properties.

People aren’t buying. Investors are. Guess what they’re buying?

You guessed it. Savvy investors are buying rental properties. It’s because the economy has created a vacuum that has caused the rental market to boom. Many families are simply renting as they wait for the dark days to end.

Multi-family structure starts are moving rapidly and are doing better than they have been since 1989. In fact (since we started tracking these starts in 1974) they’re at an all-time high.

Did you know that over 90% of all recent construction over two units was rental based or inspired?

Back in the day, these structures were being built as condos. Now, what we’re seeing is “simple rental”. Build ’em, book ’em and then keep them full.

It should be noted that the construction of single-family homes hasn’t improved much. While some tout that building permits for single-family homes hit their second highest level since the downturn in October, permits are actually running just 1% ahead of last year’s pace through October. That’s hardly inspiring.

Okay, enough doom and gloom. Let’s look at the other side of that coin;

What we’re seeing here is that our building families are redefining HOW they will live and then, they’re going after it. They aren’t scared and they aren’t comfortable following the neighbors in herds down the path. They’re blazing new trails.

These families are embracing the hope by taking control of their own lives. They aren’t as concerned with gadgets, fancy textures and upgrades.

They’re concentrating on energy efficiency, sustainable products and low maintenance appliances and finishes that relieve them of future labor intensive upkeep.

Which brings me to the heart of this post;

Along with many single family homes and buildings, we’re building an awful lot of ISBU based rental properties this Spring.

Guess why?

Because when you talk to architects and builders about “coming building trends for 2016” and they use terms like “energy efficient designs”, “healthy building materials” (low chemical, for example), “sustainability”, “home automation and monitoring” and “designs that grow with families” – to embrace changes in lifestyle, age and ability… we know exactly what they’re talking about.

You see… we’ve been using these concepts to produce GREAT ISBU Architecture all along – for over 30 years.

Now, either we’re visionaries or somebody needs to get out of their cubicles and watch cable tv for a season or two.

Stay tuned. We have a LOT of stuff to show you.

Happy New Year! May you and yours find health and happiness in the year ahead!

AK

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