How Much Does It Cost to Build a New Home in Ada County Idaho?

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) recently released their 2015 Construction Cost Survey conducted in August of 2015). NAHB’s 2015 construction cost survey was conducted by emailing a questionnaire to a representative sample of 4,090 home builders. The sample was stratified by size of the builder (based on number of starts) and region of the country (the sample being proportional to housing starts in each of the four principal Census regions).

The construction cost survey shows that, on average, 61.8 percent of the sales price goes to construction costs and 18.2 percent to the finished lot costs. On average Builder profit (including owners’ salary and return on capital) accounts for 9.0 percent of the sales prices.

Nationally, the average new home size was 2,802 square feet and the average sales price was $468,318. The average price per square foot was $167.14.

The NAHB Construction Cost Survey provides some additional insights into the cost of construction. The average lot was 20,129 square feet or .46 acres and cost $85,139. The average Total Construction Cost, excluding Lot Cost, Financing Cost, Sales Commissions, Marketing Cost, Builder Overhead and General Expenses, and Profit, was $289,415 or $103.29 per square foot.

How does Ada County compare with these national numbers. The Intermountain MLS Data for New Construction in Ada County reports that as of 11/04/2015, there have been a total of 1,656 new homes sold this year. The average new home size was 2,325 square feet and the average sale price was $323,059. The price per square foot ranged from $111.80 to $236.67 with the average price per square foot was $138.95.

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Would You Buy a Tiny Home?

Two articles caught my attention today. The first was a blog post by National Association of Home Builders economist Robert Dietz titled “Single FSF-size_3q15-1024x768amily Home Size: Flat Trends”. Mr. Dietz reported that according to third quarter 2015 data from the Census Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design and NAHB analysis, median single-family square floor area fell from 2,478 in the second quarter to 2,445 square feet. Average (mean) square footage for new single-family homes fell from 2,704 to 2,653 for the third quarter. Since cycle lows in 2009-2010 and on a one-year moving average basis, the average size of new single-family homes has increased 13% to 2,693 square feet, while the median size has increased 17% to 2,472 square feet.

 

The second article arrived in an e-newsletter from Builder magazine. That article was titled “FOUR PLANS: TINY HOMES FOR REAL LIFE” and featured four plans ranging from about 700 to just under 1,000 square feet. Two of the plans include two-car garages.

While the larger homes obviously reflect current market trends, I couldn’t help but wonder if there is actually a market for the “tiny” homes. The article suggested they are suitable for a wider range of situations that might include a young childfree couple wanting a simple bungalow, a small family wanting an affordable first home, or a multi-generational family building an in-law cottage to go behind a larger family home.

I’d like to know what you think. Would you buy a “tiny” home?

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Why I Am Proud to be a Home Builder and a Member of the National Association of Home Builders

Homeownership is the Foundation of the American Dream.

• For many people, owning a home is part of their American Dream. Homeownership builds stronger communities, provides a solid foundation for family and personal achievement and improves the quality of life for millions of people. It is truly the cornerstone of the American way of life.

• Most Americans consider homeownership to be the single best long-term investment and a primary source of wealth and financial security. Countless generations of Americans have counted on their homes for their children’s education, their own retirement and a personal sense of well-being.

• Yet, a home is so much more than an investment. In good times and in bad, the opportunity to own a home has been a cherished ideal and a source of pride, accomplishment, social stability and peace of mind.

• Changing housing policy now to make owning a home more expensive is unfair and would hurt those that have played by the rules and made the sacrifices to get where they are now.

• It would harm millions of Americans who are struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments and those who aspire to one day own a home of their own.

Homeownership is a Major Driver of the U.S. Economy

• The nation’s housing and homeownership policies over the last century have contributed to the growth of the middle class and helped the United States become the most dynamic economy the world has ever seen.

• Fully 15 percent of the U.S. economy relies on housing and nothing packs a bigger local economic impact than home building.

• Constructing 100 new single-family homes creates 297 full-time jobs, $28 million in wage and business income and $11.1 million in federal, state and local tax revenue.

• A healthy housing industry means more jobs and a stronger economy. Home building increases the property tax base that supports local schools and communities.

• Housing, like no other sector, is “Made in America.” Most of the products used in home construction and remodeling are manufactured here in the United States.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) helps its members build communities. Each year, NAHB’s members construct about 80% of the new homes built in the United States, both single-family and multifamily.

Since it was founded in the early 1940s, NAHB has served as the voice of America’s housing industry. We work to ensure that housing is a national priority and that all Americans have access to safe, decent and affordable housing, whether they choose to buy a home or rent.

Achieving that goal is increasingly difficult in today’s contentious and unsettled political and financial environment, one in which the concept of homeownership as a national priority is very much under attack. NAHB champions laws and regulations designed to reverse this dangerous course that will drive down the value of the nation’s housing stock, drive up the cost of rental housing, and threaten the economic recovery.

For more information on NAHB, ask me or visit nahb.org

And when you are ready to design and build your American Dream Home, contact us.

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New vs. Existing Homes

According to recently released data from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau, sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 2.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000 units in May. This is the highest new-home sales rate since February 2008.   The National Association of Realtors reported that the sale of previously owned homes also surged in May, rising to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.35 million, buoyed in part by the return of younger buyers who had long struggled to find a path into the market.

As the housing market returns to normal, we are seeing more and more articles on the pros and cons of buying a new home vs. an existing home.

According to recent survey by Trulia, twice as many people prefer new homes to existing homes.  A “new” home is a home that has never been lived in before, or a home purchased in the pre-construction phase. An “existing” or resale home is a home that was pre-owned. Most existing homes were built between the 1920s and the 1970s.  For the same price, 2 in 5 Americans – a sizeable 41% of the population – either somewhat or strongly prefer a newly-built home over an existing one.

Among the myriad of decisions to make when buying a home is should you purchase a new home or one that has been previously lived in.  Ultimately you have to decide which is best for you and your family.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Here are a few things to help you make an informed decision.

New homes can cost more. According to Trulia, a new home costs 20% more than a resale home.

When buying a new home, you are able to work with the builder to customize your home before construction is completed.  Depending on the Builder, you might be able to design your new home from scratch.  At a minimum, you can pick out the carpet, countertops, flooring and paint colors.  You might even get to pick out things like sinks, shower heads and door handles.

With a new home, most of the work is done for you.  You don’t have to lift a finger, a paint brush, or a hammer.  You won’t have to do much maintenance. With brand new appliances, plumbing, heating, and air, you should be repair free for at least a few years – a big financial benefit vs. an existing home.

If you are someone who takes pleasure in fixing up a home, customizing and upgrading it yourself, or tailoring it to your preferences, an existing home might be for you.

New homes come with some of the design elements that today’s lifestyle demands: open floor plans, eat-in kitchens, large master baths, and walk-in closets to name a few.

A new home will likely be more energy efficient built using high-efficiency furnaces, air conditioners, and water heaters, added insulation, energy efficient windows, along with ENERGY STAR appliances that could reduce utility bills by thousands of dollars over the course of home ownership.

A new home might not include certain appliances like the refrigerator, washer and dryer.

An existing home might include appliances which are typically not included in new homes and might also include window coverings and some furniture, etc. which are usually sold for much less since they are used and a burden for the seller to move.

A new home will most likely have the option to include modern technology that many savvy homeowners want like Wi-Fi, USB plug-ins, surround sound, smart gadget capabilities and more saving you lots of time, money, and holes in the walls.

If you want to make a change to energy efficient appliances or more “smart” technology in an existing home, you could end up spending a lot of money.  An existing home was most likely built when the technology for wireless internet and smart security systems wasn’t even a thought in the builder’s mind. Upgrading to modern technology in an existing home can be expensive and can mean more holes in walls and more remodeling.

Besides the fact the home has never been lived in, a new home is clean and worry-free.

A previously owned home can be hiding huge money traps.  The home may look fine, but it could be hiding major issues beneath the surface, such as mold or water damage. The home’s systems and appliances have been used.  The water heater has produced thousands of gallons of hot water, appliances have been used hundreds or thousands of times, and the HVAC system has already weathered a number of winters and summers.  Systems and appliances that have already been used have a shorter lifespan, and may fail earlier than brand new appliances. Previous wear and tear can be hard your wallet.

There are also lifestyle factors to consider.  After all, you’re not just buying a house – you’re buying a home and a neighborhood.

A new home is generally in a neighborhood of new construction, as opposed to existing homes. New homes are created in brand new subdivisions that are having houses built all at the same time. Although some individuals may think this is a plus, it also means that you could be stuck in a construction zone for a few months or years after purchasing your new home.  Some necessities might not yet have been built close to new subdivisions, which could mean you might have to drive farther to schools, grocery stores and work.  If you’re looking for a lovely, quaint, tree-lined older neighborhood that has a well-established community of neighbors, you won’t get it for many years in a new development.

A previously owned home will be in an established neighborhood close to necessities and with a neighborhood culture.  A home in a neighborhood that has been established can be a huge boost to property values and buyer morale.

New homes are typically built on smaller lots than most older homes.  If you’re looking for that big backyard – and lots of space between your house and the next door neighbor’s, you may not find it in a new home.

Take your time and weigh the pros and cons of buying a new versus pre-owned home.  At the end of the day, new or pre-owned, your home should make you feel comfortable for years to follow.

Chuck Miller Construction Inc. believes that homes should be a safe and sacred haven. They should reflect our clients’ values and lifestyle while providing a sense of community. They should be comfortable and long lasting, be designed and built so that you can live there independently regardless of your age or physical ability, and should use energy and resources efficiently and responsibly.  So whether you decide to purchase a new home or a previously owned home, we have the knowledge, experience, and team of qualified trade contractors and suppliers to turn your dreams into reality.

Posted in: cost of building, energy-efficient remodeling, green building, home building, home buyers, homeownership, real estate, Remodeling

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Waters of the United States

Once again we need your help to reverse the onerous “waters of the U.S” rule that was recently finalized by the EPA and Army Corps (the agencies). You were instrumental in the passage of H.R. 1732 in the House of Representatives in May, and again we need you to help pass companion legislation in the Senate, S. 1140. Please ask your senators to pass S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, sponsored by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN).

The agencies finalized expansion of the Clean Water Act (CWA) will interfere with the ability of individual landowners to use their property and negatively impacts economic growth. The rule will dramatically increase the cost and time needed to obtain a wetlands permit prior to home construction, which will greatly impact the fledgling housing recovery.

  1. 1140, will force the agencies to withdraw the final rule, address many procedural flaws associated with the rule and re-propose a rule that incorporates sound science and important stakeholder input.

For more information on S. 1140, please review these talking points.

Call to Action

  • Write or call your senators
  • If you are a member of NAHB, call – (866) 924-NAHB (6242)
  • Urge your senators to PASS S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act

Posted in: building, environmental issues, EPA, land development, pending legislation, Waters of the United States

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Five Ways to Implement Universal Design in Your Home

Whether you’re raising a young family or beginning to enjoy an empty nest, the design of your home should meet your changing needs. Families looking to customize their homes to suit their lifestyles both now and in the future can easily implement universal design techniques.

Universal design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design at a later point in time. Universal design enhances traditional design by incorporating elements that offer comfort, convenience and ease of use.

Multigenerational families and first-time home owners alike will appreciate the often simple and inexpensive changes that make homes livable for all household members, regardless of age or ability. Homes with universal design are more user-friendly, require lower maintenance and complement an easy-living lifestyle.

Here are five ways to implement universal design in your home:

  1. Widen your doorways and hallways to accommodate strollers or relatives who might use a wheelchair. This allows everyone and everything to move more easily in and out of the house, and from room to room. Experts recommend 36-inch wide doors and 42-inch wide halls and stairways.
  2. Build a stepless porch entry that will increase access and convenience without compromising aesthetics.
  3. Install non-slip surfaces on floors and bathtubs to help everyone stay sturdy on their feet
  4. Install handrails on steps and grab bars in bathrooms to provide more support for household members of all ages. 
  5. Use lever door handles. This easy-grip hardware allows family members and guests to more effortlessly open and close doors. Plus, you can switch out your faucet and drawer handles with C-shape or D-shape hardware for even greater ease of use.

Home building and remodeling professionals who have earned the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR) or Graduate Master Remodeler (GMR) designations have received training on how to build or renovate a home so that the occupants can live in the home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of their age or ability level. They have been taught the strategies and techniques for designing and building aesthetically pleasing, barrier-free living environments.  Chuck Miller is a Graduate Master Builder (GMB). a Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR), and a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS).

You can find more information on Universal Design and Aging-In-Place, including our video “Make You House a Home for a Lifetime”, on the Aging-In-Place page on our website.

Contact us at (208) 229-2553 or by emailing chuck@chuckmillerconstruction.com to schedule a preliminary design consultation to discuss your project.

Posted in: Aging-In-Place, Remodeling, Universal Design

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Millennial Home Buyers’ Priorities

A recent survey of 503 Millennials (people ages 25 to 34 including 203 current homeowners and 300 individuals who plan to buy a house within 12 months) reveals that Millennial home buyers are interested in maximizing space and affordability while maintaining a level of community found in urban environments, and capitalizing on opportunities to customize and personalize their homes.

More than half of survey respondents (53%) are eager for a suburban lifestyle, and millennials are four times more likely to opt for more space over living in a populated community. However, urban benefits of being within walking distance to parks, grocery stores, schools, and work were high priorities for respondents.

Millennials named “desire to have outdoor space” the most important reason to purchase a home – more important than both financial and emotional readiness for homeownership.

Millennial homeowners are mostly focusing on purchasing a home as their primary residence. But millennials are a demographic that’s dealing with more diverse living situations than previous generations. While many millennials will choose to start families, we also know from Census data that single-adult households are on the rise. Meanwhile, millennials’ retiring parents could add another twist to the question of household composition—especially if those grandchildren come along. So, millennials are looking for flexible living spaces, and 71% say the ability to customize a new home is somewhat or very important. Nearly 4 out of 5 respondents (78%) said a children’s play space was important or a must-have in their home design, and 74% said the same when asked about having a separate living suite. Other flex spaces, including finished basements and office areas, also ranked high in importance, but more respondents were willing to compromise on those spaces.

A full 75% of respondents said they’re looking to purchase a home because they’re tired of renting, and 84% said they feel “financially ready” to purchase a home. The same amount said they’re interesting building personal financial equity through a home purchase. In order to achieve the level of flexibility and location amenities they’re looking for, millennial home buyers plan to spend about a fifth of their budgets on renovations and customizations.

Are you a Millennial considering buying a house? What are your priorities?

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Buying a Home Now Could Save You Over $200,000

According to

Realtor.com’s Chief Economist, Jonathan Smoke

, buying a home now could save you more than $200,000 over the next 30 years.

But buying a home costs money – the down payment, the monthly mortgage payment, the taxes, the insurance, and the maintenance. It enough to make you put off the house hunt and sign that yearlong lease with your landlord even though he upped your rent 25% and will likely do the same next year. But even with all of those costs, you still stand to save more than $200,000 over the next 30 years if you buy right now.

At a national level, the 30-year financial benefit of owning today is $217,726. Conversely, there is a financial penalty—for every single day you pay your landlord instead of your mortgage company. Waiting just one year and and you’re losing out on an estimated $18,672 in savings. Delay for three years, and that figure jumps to $54,879.

The penalties are so high because mortgage rates are forecast to increase and because home prices are rising quickly. The economist figures don’t take into account the qualitative advantages of home ownership which many potential home buyers would argue are equally, if not more, important when deciding whether to take the plunge – advantages such as more control over your living situation, flexibility with pets, and, generally, more options

“We’re at a critical juncture: Rents, home prices, and mortgage rates are all expected to rise significantly over the next several years,” Smoke says. “That means the cost of delaying homeownership will go up even more sharply, if you wait three years or even one. It’s much like the decision to start contributing to a 401(k). Delay contributing, and you lose out on the compounding returns.”
Smoke and his team even stacked the deck against owning. For instance, they assumed that any money saved by renters would be invested, and that the investment would enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 5% – consistent with conservative long-term expected market returns. But how many renters are actually saving and investing?

Nationally, it’s currently cheaper to buy than to rent, home prices are expected to appreciate, and, while renting is subject to inflation, homeownership costs are locked.
Strong economic drivers such as job growth, population growth, and household growth in your local market cause both rent and home prices to skyrocket driving the savings even higher.

In order to realize a positive financial benefit from buying a house, owners have to wait for “break-even time periods”—when the transaction costs of buying and selling cancel out. Nationally, that wait time is just over three years.

Smoke says: Nearly 90% of the markets (335 of ‘em) produce a financial benefit of at least $100,000 from owning over 30 years. In addition, almost a quarter of the nation’s markets reap a financial return greater than the national average.

Posted in: economy, homeownership

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Prices Of Newly Built Homes Are On The Rise

Prices of newly built homes are on the rise again, illustrating that home builders are grappling with the same supply-and-demand problems bedeviling the existing home market.

New-home prices, which appeared to lose momentum over the past year, actually have caught a second wind of late.
New Commerce Department figures show that, after four consecutive months of slight declines, the median price of a newly built home in the U.S. rebounded by 4.1% in April to $297,300. That puts it back within striking distance of the all-time high of $302,700 set last November.

Some economists say demand simply is exceeding the pace at which builders can construct homes. Builders have started construction of 7.6% more single-family homes in the first four months of this year than at the same time last year, according to Commerce Department data, but they’ve sold 23.7% more than a year ago.

Some of those homes sold so far this year are speculative homes built at the end of last year. But others just haven’t gone under construction yet. Once builders get threatened with falling behind schedule, many opt to raise prices in a bid to temper demand.
“There just aren’t a lot of homes out there for sale,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics. “The market looks like it’s going to get even tighter because the level of construction remains very low compared to improving demand. I sense that, until builders can start ramping things up more significantly, pricing is going to be strong.”

In the resale market, the inventory level had held at about 4.6 months in the first quarter before rising to 5.3 months in April, meaning it would take that long at the current selling pace to burn through the available inventory of existing homes for sale. A balanced market, in which buyers and sellers are on roughly equal footing, is typically 6 to 7 months of supply.
Tight inventory in the resale market has resulted in prices close to the all-time high set nine years ago. In April, the median resale price reached $219,400, up 8.9% from April 2014. That increase likely will help to create more supply by pushing up home values and thus fattening homeowners’ equity cushions. However, the downside is that it makes buying a home more expensive, especially for first-time and entry-level buyers.

Posted in: building, cost of building, economy

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