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New Paint Collection With the First Soft Touch Matte Finish by Benjamin Moore

June 29, 2017

Paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore says its new series, Century, is a curated collection of brand new colors that also offers the first Soft Touch Matte finish.

Century was created for the finest of designs that require flawless execution and impeccable quality,” says Harriette Martins, Benjamin Moore senior brand manager. “The unmatched richness and color saturation, coupled with the tactile experience of Century, delivers a new dimension in paint unlike anything the design world has seen. With Century, color becomes an experience.

According to the company, skilled craftsmen and chemists applied years of experience in developing the ultra-premium product. “The resulting formulation is so intricately balanced it is only made in small batches that will be pre-mixed and sealed to ensure the truest color and experience in every can,” the company says.

The finish, the company adds, is similar to that of a soft leather glove.

Century is available in 75 colors, ranging from mid-tone to dark shades, “intended to enrich the color collection of interior designers,” Benjamin Moore says.

New Paint Collection With the First Soft Touch Matte Finish by Benjamin Moore

June 29, 2017

Paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore says its new series, Century, is a curated collection of brand new colors that also offers the first Soft Touch Matte finish.

“Century was created for the finest of designs that require flawless execution and impeccable quality,” says Harriette Martins, Benjamin Moore senior brand manager. “The unmatched richness and color saturation, coupled with the tactile experience of Century, delivers a new dimension in paint unlike anything the design world has seen. With Century, color becomes an experience.”

According to the company, skilled craftsmen and chemists applied years of experience in developing the ultra-premium product. “The resulting formulation is so intricately balanced it is only made in small batches that will be pre-mixed and sealed to ensure the truest color and experience in every can,” the company says.

The finish, the company adds, is similar to that of a soft leather glove.

Century is available in 75 colors, ranging from mid-tone to dark shades, “intended to enrich the color collection of interior designers,” Benjamin Moore says.

How Falling Inventory Has Led to Hurried Home Buying

June 29, 2017

U.S. home inventory tumbled 8.9% over the year in the second quarter of 2017, and has now fallen for nine consecutive quarters. Inventory today is a full 20% less than it was five years ago. As a consequence, homes are being snapped up by homebuyers at the fastest clip since we started keeping track in 2012.

For example, 57% of homes in 2012 were still on the market after two months while today that number stands at 47%.

In this edition of Trulia’s Inventory and Price Watch, we examined how shrinking inventory affects how quickly homes come off the market. We find that, on average, metros with the largest decreases in inventory over the past five years have also seen significantly fewer homes on the market after two months.

The Trulia Inventory and Price Watch is an analysis of the supply and affordability of starter homes, trade-up homes, and premium homes currently on the market. Segmentation is important because home seekers need information not just about total inventory, but also about inventory in the price range they are interested in buying. For example, changes in total inventory or median affordability don’t provide first-time buyers useful information about what’s happening with the types of homes they’re likely to buy, which are predominantly starter homes.

Looking at the housing stock nationally and in the 100 largest U.S. metros from Q2 2012 to Q2 2017, we found:

  • Nationally, the number of starter and trade-up homes on the market has decreased substantially, falling 15.6% and 13.1% respectively, during the past year, while inventory of premium homes has fallen 3.9%.
  • The persistent and disproportional drop in starter and trade-up home inventory is pushing affordability further out of reach of homebuyers. Starter and trade-up homebuyers need to spend 3.1% and 1.7% more of their income than this time last year, whereas premium homebuyers only need to shell out 0.9% more of their income;
  • Across metros, falling inventory is strongly correlated with how long homes stay on the market. On average, the more a market’s housing inventory has fallen over the past five years the fewer share of homes are still on the market after two months. Homes are moving fastest this spring in San Jose, Calif., and Oakland, Calif, where fewer than 21% of homes are still on the market after two months.

No Inventory Relief This Spring

The spring home buying season has not brought much relief for inventory constrained homebuyers. Although we’ve seen a healthy but seasonal uptick in inventory over last quarter, inventory has fallen 8.9% over the past year and for the ninth straight quarter. In addition:

  • The number of starter homes on the market dropped by 15.6%, while the share of starter homes dropped from 23% to 22.1%. Starter homebuyers today will need to shell out 3.1% more of their income towards a home purchase than last year;
  • The number of trade-up homes on the market decreased by 13.1%, while the share of trade-up homes dropped from 23.2% to 22.1%. Trade-up homebuyers today will need to pay 1.7% more of their income for a home than last year;
  • The number of premium homes on the market decreased by 3.9%, while the share of premium homes increased from 53.8% to 55.8%. Premium homebuyers today will need to spend 0.9% more of their income for a home than a year ago.

Falling inventory has also pushed affordability of homes across all segments to new post-recession lows. Starter homebuyers have been hurt the most, with the median buyer needing to dedicate 39.1% of their monthly income to buy a starter home – a 3.1 percentage-point increase from last year and up from 31.7% in Q2 2012. Though trade-up and premium homes are still relatively affordable, the share of income these buyers would have to spend on such homes also reached post-recession highs. For example, trade-up and premium home buyers would need to spend 26% and 14.3% of their income to buy a home, respectively, but both are up from 21.5% and 11.7% just five years ago. Clearly, the inventory crunch hasn’t helped housing affordability across the U.S.

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Better Buildings Challenge Partners on track to reduce energy usage by 20% in 10 years

May 27, 2017

According to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, on average, participants are improving energy efficiency by more than 2% per year.

This is in line with meeting energy savings goals of 20% over the next 10 years. Energy performance results for nearly 38,000 properties have been recorded to date.

Participants are contributing to the more than 1,000 proven solutions now available online in the Better Buildings Solution Center. “When partners share their energy and water savings strategies and results, they demonstrate their collective leadership by making it easier for others to replicate their success,” says a DOE news release.

Energy efficiency efforts have led to a reduction of a combined 240 trillion Btus and an estimated $1.9 billion in cumulative energy and cost savings, DOE says. The results are summarized in the 2017 Better Buildings Progress Report.

The Impact of Regulations on Home Building

May 27, 2017

{There is} significant impact of government regulations on home building. It’s not a coincidence; it is one of the most important factors in determining the course of the industry.

Our analysis of this year’s Housing Giants survey notes that rising home prices moved up to No. 3 on the list of challenges that respondents mentioned this year, and that government regulations fell from last year’s No. 5 to off the list at No. 6. But in reality, those two items are joined at the hip.

It’s easy to calculate the relationship of sales prices to direct regulatory costs such as impact fees and local add-ons like tree ordinances and ecological surveys. According to the NAHB, such costs make up nearly 25 percent of the price of a new home and rose from an average of $65,224 in 2011 to $84,671 in 2016, an increase of 29.8 percent. Less obvious is the impact of the time it takes to get projects approved. Last year, real estate data company Trulia analyzed the effect of the building permit process on home prices and found a direct correlation between permit delays and housing supply and housing prices. Simply put, the longer it takes to get a project through the approval process, the higher the price of the homes.

During those same years of 2011 to 2016, new-home prices grew by 33.8 percent. Taken together with the increase in regulatory costs, the data offer a pretty clear explanation for why there are fewer affordable homes being built. In 2011, homes sold for under $200,000 comprised 38.6 percent of the market; in 2016, less than half of that number—
17 percent—were sold for $200,000 or less.

With numbers like these, one might think that accessory dwelling units (ADUs) would be encouraged, or at least tolerated, by municipalities. But that isn’t the case in most areas around the country. As senior editor Sue Bady points out in her article “Much Ado About ADUs,” local ordinances and guidelines can put the construction of ADUs out of reach for those with moderate incomes—even in places where local codes allow them.

Senior editor Mike Beirne’s story, “Jurisdiction Jujitsu,” addresses the approval issue head-on using examples of builders employing an array of tactics to try to keep their projects moving forward when faced with opposition from local officials or residents. Some companies have gotten quite adept at figuring out ways to address issues even before their initial plan goes public, conducting strategic research of the neighborhood, holding neighborhood meetings, and having alternate plans in their back pockets—all of them excellent ways of ensuring success and continuing good relationships with the communities in which they operate.

In some places, however, even the best of intentions and strategies won’t help get homes built. California, the poster child state for housing over-regulation, has a genuine housing crisis on its hands and there appears to be little chance of a solution on the horizon. Last year, California Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed legislation to streamline housing approval processes went nowhere. This year, his proposed budget clearly asserts that there will be no state help for affordable housing unless local laws address some of those reforms, including reducing local barriers to housing construction, implementing density bonuses, and facilitating the development of ADUs.

It’s something of a strong-arm tactic, but one that may be necessary at this point. The budget is under review by the legislature through May—it will be interesting to see what transpires and what effect the result may have on other states facing similar challenges.

Successful Commercial Painting Projects Require Plenty of Upfront Planning

April 23, 2017

By Maryellen Lo Bosco March 2017 – Paints & Coatings

In an era of tight facility budgets and lean facility staffs, facility managers look for every opportunity to save time and money. Painting may seem like a routine task, but if facility managers wish to maximize their painting dollars over the long term, they will need to carefully plan and execute each project.

The bottom line is simple: “You get what you pay for,” says Cris Crissinger, a consultant who was formerly director, corporate specifications, McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture. It may be more economical in the short term to use cheaper materials, but such a system will cost more money to maintain over a period of years, he says. The same principle applies to surface preparation and application. A paint job can last a couple of years or even 20 years or more, depending on how well the painting was done and how good the materials used.

That’s not to say that every project should be budgeted so that it can last for 20 years. “In some cases it is more cost effective to spend money up front, but if people are changing their brand every six to ten years, then why spend a lot of money?” asks Ken Trimber, president of KTA-Tator, a third-party inspection company for infrastructure, and a member of four ASTM committees that deal with coatings, building performance, and durability. “If you are going to tear a building down in a few years, for example, all you may want is a Band-Aid.”

Finding the right paint

The choice of paint or coating will depend on a number of factors. Indoors, aesthetics become important, says Terry Carroll, commercial services business unit manager for KTA-Tator, and the sheen chosen will vary by substrate. In hospital buildings, antimicrobial coatings will be put down to resist contamination, especially in laboratory settings.

Dry-fall paint is used to coat exposed, metal-deck ceilings, which is literally dry when it hits the floor. In choosing colors, it is important to consider how much fade is allowable. That’s because fade varies according to hue. Earth tones will wear better than bright colors, for example.

The first place to get information about paint is from the product data sheet, which lists paint characteristics, including VOC (volatile organic compound) level, how many square feet will be covered by a gallon of paint, how fast the paint will dry, and how soon the applier can re-coat.

Creating a Better Workplace: Companies Realizing Impact of a Well-designed Office

April 23, 2017

Just as building owners and managers continually strive to keep their tenants satisfied, tenants themselves constantly are looking for innovative ways to foster employee satisfaction while increasing productivity. More and more companies are finding that the physical spaces in which their employees work can have a dramatic effect on everything from their creativity to their health.

“It is a travesty how often people don’t feel happy or have a sense of well-being at work,” says Tracy Brower, PhD, author of Bring Work to Life by Bringing Life to Work and the director of Human Dynamics of Work for office furniture supplier Herman Miller. “When companies support and engage employees, these companies see more employee productivity, higher employee retention rates and a whole host of other benefits.” Design experts have begun exploring how our surroundings can affect our behavior, and office spaces are no exception. According to Brower, companies can reap dramatic results by creating office layouts that encourage innovation and engagement.

One such company is Mars Drinks, a segment of Mars, Incorporated, that offers coffee and other hot beverage solutions to workplaces worldwide. Recently, the Mars Drinks global headquarters in West Chester, Pennsylvania, were redesigned with the help of Herman Miller to inspire happier and more productive employees. The new space includes a variety of work areas to meet different employee needs. Much of the office space has been kept open to promote communication between workers, but when employees need time for quiet work or private conversations, special “huddle rooms” are available. Dynamic coffee lounges and so-called “social kitchens” have been designed to allow coworkers and company leaders alike to recharge and converse. By creating inviting break areas, Mars Drinks encourages its employees to stay on-site for coffee breaks and lunch, thereby creating more opportunities for collaboration and connection.

Frank LaRusso, vice president of Business Development for Mars Drinks, says the decision to focus on company culture was a simple one. “When companies look at the value of employee health and well-being, they should be inspired to do something.” As our society becomes increasingly aware of the negative impacts that poor office culture and even sitting for long periods of time can have on our health, LaRusso believes it is important for employers to take proactive measures to mitigate these effects. “An office space should be highly energetic and highly inspirational, helping companies create more innovation, better health and greater happiness for their employees.”

However, companies need not knock down every wall and construct entirely open office spaces in order to create what Herman Miller terms a “Living Office”—a workplace that continuously evolves for greater prosperity. In fact, Brower points out that some companies have over-compensated, creating more open spaces and collaboration at the expense of privacy and contemplative time. The most successful workplaces accommodate a variety of work activities and characters, a concept reflected in the redesigned offices of Mars Drinks. “No matter our style, work preferences or job function, there will be times when we need to connect with others and there will be times when we need to work in a more solitary space. The key is for companies to provide options,” Brower explains.

Both Brower and LaRusso believe that well-designed offices will become more prevalent as the benefits become better known. As pioneering employers realize increasing economic benefits from happier and healthier employees, others will follow similar workplace strategies.

But the best employers will always see room for improvement. “Companies should be continuously striving to improve office spaces, rather than just modernizing once every 10 or 20 years and wiping their brow,” says Brower. “Work and workers are always changing, so companies should always be listening to what employees need.”

Brower’s advice for companies looking to improve their space? “Start by identifying the purpose that your organization is trying to fulfill, then really look at the work activities that need to be supported,” says Brower. “Finally, think about the settings that will best encourage these activities and create workplace landscapes accordingly.” Building owners and managers also should keep this advice in mind as they continue to look for ways to attract and retain tenants. As seasoned property professionals know, an office space truly isn’t just a place to work.

2017 Kitchen & Bathroom Trends

March 31, 2017

Regional differences still exist in preferred styles across the country but, overall, transitional and contemporary are gaining over traditional designs. The clean-lined design that is on-trend is not a cold, minimalist modern but a rich layering of textures, colors, and materials with details often drawn from A desire for personalization in style and layout is coming into full bloom with homeowners of all ages. Figure in demands for hardworking storage, unobtrusive appliances, low-maintenance surfaces, updated technologies, and accessibility and you have a snapshot of kitchen and bath design trends in 2017.

In The Kitchen

In Cabinets, A Mix of Styles:

“Both light woods and gray tones are popular right now, as they allow for a wide range of changing trends as the home ages,” Berk says. “Two-tone kitchen cabinets as well as colored cabinets are very in.” Patricia Wynkoop, VP of product development and purchasing at residential developer and builder Miller & Smith, in McLean, Va., and Mary Jeanne Helton, EVP of residential design firm and building product manufacturer and distributor Signature Companies, in Haymarket, Va., see wood choices swinging toward quarter-sawn oak, with its straight grain that receives stain and color well, along with walnut, a straight-grained, strong, stable wood. Slab or frameless cabinet doors in white, gray, or greige, and even in matte black, mixed with solid white, gray, greige, or wood accents are also on trend.

Wynkoop and Helton view gray as the popular new neutral, paired with accents in muted pastels and jewel tones. For those who still prefer traditional styling, Steven Cooper, designer and owner of Cooper Pacific Kitchens, in West Hollywood, Calif., says, “We are looking at glazed, natural tones, open grains in wood, and furniture details in cabinetry.”

The Open Plan Prevails

A kitchen open to the great room remains the most popular layout. “Our floor plans feature the great room, kitchen, and dining areas all flowing effortlessly as one, with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer plenty of natural light,” says Robert Bowman, president of Charter Homes & Neighborhoods, in Lancaster, Pa. Wynkoop and Helton acknowledge that consumers are forgoing formal living and dining rooms, with kitchens integrated into the living/great room space. Accordingly, kitchen cabinetry is designed to look more like furniture. Cooper notes that some clients who have had open-plan kitchens are now pushing back a bit, requesting architectural features such as pocket doors, columns, or arches, to physically or visually delineate spaces.

Open-plan kitchens have prompted shifts in appliance-finish preferences. Grubb calls it “stainless fatigue,” whereby homeowners now want the unobtrusive look of appliances concealed behind panels that match the cabinetry. Another common request: less-prominent ventilation hoods that blend in with cabinetry. And integrated refrigeration has come down from very high-end kitchens to those that are somewhat more affordable, says designer David Stimmel, owner of Stimmel Consulting Group, in Bryn Mawr and Ambler, Pa. “Steam cooking is also a must-have now, with almost every new kitchen we see requiring this,” he says.

“Homebuyers are looking for smaller yet smarter square footage,” says Bobby Berk, principal of Bobby Berk Interiors + Design, in Los Angeles. The smart part involves options that offer efficient storage and smooth operation while preserving a kitchen’s uncluttered good looks.“Slide-outs, pullouts, drawer dividers, built-in bins, and charging stations within cabinets and drawers are some of today’s kitchen musts,” according to Patricia Wynkoop, VP of product development and purchasing at Miller & Smith, in McLean, Va.

Homeowners want cabinetry to be well-organized and accessible. “New hinges are more hidden and smaller than ever before, so you no longer see unsightly bulky hardware through beautiful glass fronts,” says Mick De Giulio, principal of Chicago-based De Giulio Kitchen Design. “We look for opportunities to use spaces that might otherwise go untouched. A corner recess to house a countertop appliance or spice shelves behind a range wall’s sliding backsplash.” Good, eco-wise lighting is a given. “LED is now standard for under-cabinet, interior, and overall ambient lighting,” De Giulio says.

Gone is the built-in desk area in the kitchen for taking care of household bills. “With the portability of laptops and tablets, the home office area is now on the island, which can include a power strip and HDMI connection and file drawers to hold household documents,” says Christopher Grubb, president of Arch-Interiors Design Group, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Many homeowners today enjoy entertaining and expect their kitchens to contribute aesthetically and functionally to the party. “Baby Boomers’ kids are gone, they’re downsizing, and they’re entertaining again,” Los Angeles designer Bobby Berk says. “So their kitchens aren’t necessarily bigger, but they’re smarter.”

“The classic triangle is updated with a more exciting approach,” says Steven Cooper, owner of Cooper Pacific Kitchens, in West Hollywood, Calif. “A kitchen might have multiple cooking and refrigeration zones that can handle meals for a family of four-to-five or a party of 100.”

Islands are key in providing a social setting; a place where people can sit and gather around. They can serve as design statements, encouraging the feeling of being in a special, lively area, integrating textures and tones or a distinctive mix of materials that contrast or complement the perimeter cabinetry. The goal is for the seating area at the island to be out of the cook’s way, yet integrated enough to allow for socializing.

With the popularity of the open-plan layout, Cooper says, “Islands are important today to integrate the eating area and create a good flow to adjoining spaces yet serve as a visual ‘stop sign’ from one space to the next.” Another popular must-have for those who frequently entertain is wine storage. The days of the wooden wine rack are over. “Walk-in wine storage can be an integrated jewel case in the kitchen,” Cooper says.

Berk’s Las Vegas kitchens have all had two dishwashers. Another highly popular kitchen upgrade he sees is the “service kitchen”—a small kitchen behind or off to the side of the main kitchen, which serves as a prep or clean-up zone for entertaining. “Instead of stacking the mess out in the open after a dinner party, one can instead put everything back there for cleanup after guests leave or the morning after,” he says.

For Bathrooms

Wynkoop and Helton note that many of the trends seen in kitchen design carry over into the bath as well. “Shaker and Scandinavian styles and white, gray, or greige painted cabinets are on trend,” they say. Other musts include clever storage, LED lighting, open storage, quartz or light-toned solid-surface countertops, glass doors and shelves, and decorative hardware. Custom vanities created from furniture pieces are also in demand.

“I get the most requests for transitional and traditionally styled bathrooms that have a clean, slightly contemporary leaning,” says Lindsay Chambers, founder of Lindsay Chambers Interior Design, who primarily works in Los Angeles and San Francisco. “Light, clean, crisp, and airy are still the requests I am getting in terms of look and feel. White and cream marbles are still in.”

Architect Anne Postle, owner of Osmosis Art and Architecture, in Niwot, Colo., breaks style trends down by generation: “Modern or transitional for the Millennial and Gen-X buyer, and traditional or transitional for the Baby Boomer … though modern is gaining popularity with Urban Boomers.”

Master Bath As Haven

The bath-as-spa concept is still alive and well. “Our bathrooms are designed to provide homebuyers with a spa-like sanctuary where they can escape the hustle and bustle of their daily routines,” Bowman says. Clean, sleek finishes include granite, marble, and ceramic tile that imitates real slate and stone. Chrome is the favored finish, along with large mirrors and spacious his-and-hers vanities.”

But bath design is about more than looks alone. “Buyers are considering how the layout and features in the bath support their busy lives,” Postle says. “Is there a place to sit and tie your shoes? Are the surfaces durable and easy to clean? How close is the laundry to the master bath? Do the cabinets have the features that are important to me … an appliance garage for the hair dryer with concealed outlets? A knee space with a mirror that works for makeup?” Must-haves on Grubb’s list include dual vanities, heated floors and benches, customized storage or vanities, freestanding tubs, and wall-mounted vanities.

“We’re seeing homebuyers ask for more linen storage in addition to more storage in the shower,” Bowman says. “As a result, we offer built-in shower organization systems. Overall, the master bath must be flexible and spacious with lots of natural light and multiple lighting sources to minimize shadows.” For Berk, larger showers top the popularity list. He adds, “Universal design for all ages, including bench seats in showers and an emphasis on comfort for all ages and abilities,” is also a growing trend.

Great Expectations- A Custom Builder’s Never Ending Challenge

February 28, 2017

Reposted from Custom Builder, Written by Nigel Maynard.


The custom building game is an endeavor fraught with potential minefields. Sure, the sites are often majestic, the budgets are usually stout, and the products and materials are likely to be luxurious. But the clients can be demanding, the work has to be of the highest quality, and builders must collaborate with architects to make sure details are flawlessly executed or risk having to redo them.

Custom builders are expected to be up to date on all new advancements in construction, including the latest in products and materials, construction technology, green building, high-performance home construction, and building science. They are expected to use best practices for everything they do, no matter how much it costs. Their houses must also have the best-looking kitchens and baths with the best cabinets, tile, flooring, lighting, appliances, and everything else.

The residential construction industry as a whole looks to the custom market for design ideas, for early adoption of new introductions, such as large lift/slide doors, linear drains, triple- and quad-glazed windows, waterproofed wet rooms, high-tech mechanical ventilation systems, and much more. It’s the reason why high-end trends trickle down to the entry- and mid-level builders. Manufacturers and production builders and remodelers observe what tracks with the luxury market, work out the kinks, and then find a way to deliver it to buyers and clients of lesser means.

This month we cover two challenging areas that custom builders are expected to master. One is sustainability and green building. It’s a tough nut to crack for the entire industry, and not all custom builders have mastered the practice. Our guest columnist, builder Don Ferrier, helps alleviate some of the frustration by revealing the five biggest missteps practitioners make and listing some ways they can get off on the right foot.

Another area that they must master is designing kitchens and baths that offer plenty of wow factor. This is tough for everyone, but especially for custom builders trying to balance clients’ big dreams with their actual budgets. Senior editor Susan Bady interviewed builders and architects for helpful advice on how to make the process easier so that it pencils out.

Having to shoulder these responsibilities elevates the importance of the custom builder and the custom market at large, but, as always, with great expectations comes great responsibility.

Nigel Maynard is editor-in-chief of Custom Builder and Products magazines. Maynard grew up in St. Croix, where he learned construction helping his step-dad build the family home from the ground up. Since that early introduction, he has bought and remodeled four homes, and has taken up cabinet and furniture making. His current home was featured on HGTV’s I Want That! and was profiled in The Washington Post. Prior to joining SGC Horizon, Maynard was the Editor-in-Chief of Lebhar-Friedman’s all-digital products magazine, Residential Building Products & Technology. Previously, he spent 14 years at Hanley Wood as senior editor of Builder magazine and its sister publication Residential Architect, where he amassed eight prestigious honors for editorial excellence, including AZBEE and NAREE awards.

Home Builders Pulled More Permits in 2017

February 28, 2017

So Far, Builders have secured more January permits compared with December and the year ago period.

February 17, 2017

More new homes are on the horizon as builders nationwide secured 4.6 percent more permits during January compared with December.

The activity was 8.2 percent higher than the number of permits issued during January 2016, according to the latest seasonally adjusted figures released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Northeast saw the largest spike, jumping 29.6 percent from December and 71.3 percent from the January 2016. Despite the increase, the region still trailed the rest of the country most likely due to the lake of available land, high property prices, and more local government regulations compared with less stringent and more builder-friendly parts of the country. The pickup in permits comes amid a market with tight inventory and the number of finished houses delivered last month declined 5.6 percent compared with December and slipped 0.9 percent from January 2016.

The number of new permits is encouraging,” says Joe Kirchner, senior economist at Realtor.com. “Eventually that will lead to new homes on the market.”

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