According to the new National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI),on October 7, 2013 the group stated that the housing markets in 52 out of approximately 350 metro areas nationwide have now returned to or exceeded their pre-recessionary levels of activity. What this means is that finally the nationwide housing market is running at 85 percent of normal activity. The index’s score of .85 is based on current permits, prices and employment data nationwide. (Source for historical information and charts, please go to nahb.org/lmi.)
With this news comes those cities who are topping the LMI list -- Baton Rouge, LA., scored 1.41 (41 percent) better than its last normal market level. Other major metro areas on this list include Honolulu, Hawaii, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Austin and Houston, Texas, as well as Harrisburg, PA. – each with LMI scores indicating that their housing markets now exceed previous norms.
The upswing in the housing markets is also causing trends in home building to surface. According to online house plan experts at The Plan Collection, small house plans are popular- offering homeowners less expense and less clutter with great design, comfort and style. The new “mini-home” – might include a large studio with a wonderful layout and amazing views, furnished to enhance the space. Many people are downsizing from “McMansions” to smaller homes.
For those home builders who are downsizing to small house designs, they can enjoy reduced costs for repairs, decor, energy for heating and/or cooling, maintenance, and cleaning. Plus in most cases, a lower mortgage gives growing families more funds to spend on other things.
Other trends include connectivity which will be even more important in the future. More and more manufacturers are bringing technologies to market that enable consumers to interact with products like they've never done before. For instance, General Electric (GE) showcased the latest mega-watt (10,000-watts) standby generators which can be monitored from a computer or a smart phone, which will provide peace of mind.
There are also new programmable thermostats and touchscreen deadbolts, all controlled remotely. Trending are glass walls enabling more of a connection between the indoors and outdoors. In act many new homes are building outdoor kitchen areas for entertaining, featuring pizza ovens, BBQs, bars, refrigerators, and cozy fireplaces. New sliding doors are made in panels for 60-foot panoramic views. There are also electronically operated awnings.