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Industry Trends5 min

Solutions for the Starter Home Shortage

The supply of modestly priced starter homes continues to drop nationwide. A recent report by Realtor.com found that the number of homes priced above $750,000 grew 11 percent last year, while the number of starter homes priced under $200,000 fell by 8 percent. 

Home values and rent continue to increase, but average salaries across the United States are not increasing at the same percentage. Consider that the average home value in 1950 was $7,400 and the household median income was $2,990. In 2010, however, the median home value was $221,800 (an increase of nearly 2900%) while the household median income was $49,445, which is an increase of only 1554% (source: U.S. Census Bureau via Curbed). That disparity is one of the reasons that the American starter home is out of reach for many entry-level buyers.

But designing and building starter homes doesn’t have to be restrictive in order to keep costs at bay. Rather, smart design and smart product selection can help buyers achieve the American dream without sacrificing quality.

Some of the challenges when building starter homes:

  • Narrower, smaller—even subdivided—lots
  • Designing a home that can be remodeled and/or grow as the family grows or can financially afford to add on
  • Clever use of space to maximize square footage, particularly mindful of Millennial first-time homebuyers
  • Integrating design, structural and sustainability elements that defend the build

KB Home, who partners with LP, takes advantage of LP® TechShield® Radiant Barrier, an easy, low cost energy efficient upgrade, and is at the forefront of companies trying to boost the supply of affordable entry-level homes. In KB Home’s Q1 earnings call, Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Mezger said that “offering more affordable products within our communities is also key. Our efforts to address affordability concerns by expanding the choice of square footages available to homebuyers are well underway, and we expect to continue to introduce lower square footage plans in select communities in the months ahead. A good example is our new Autumn Winds community in Riverside County, California. We added 1,400 and 1,500 square-foot plans to complement our initially planned lineup for this community, which had ranged from 1,600 to 2,400 square feet. Since the opening, these two small plans have generated about 25 percent of this community’s net orders. 

Nationwide, smaller metro areas continue to be the most affordable entry points for first-time homebuyers. A recent U.S. News and World Report found that would-be buyers in Huntsville, Alabama, and Ft. Wayne, Indiana, only needed to earmark 19 percent of their income toward housing – far less than the percentage needed in the top 20 markets in the U.S.

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Business Advice4 min

Predictions for 2020 from LP Execs

The homebuilding industry is always changing, thanks to housing trends, shifts in buyer preferences, new technologies and even finance options. We recently sat down with Brad Southern, CEO of LP Building Solutions, and Mike Sims, LP’s SVP of Marketing and Business Development, to discuss the latest industry developments.

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Industry Trends3 min
Why Key Strategies for Reducing Labor Time May Be Backfiring

Many construction companies and remodelers have been sorely challenged by the shortage of skilled laborers. As more companies struggle to find good workers and juggle projects, many are thirsty for strategies that promise to trim time.

Business Advice4 min
Why Remodelers Should Switch to LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding

Are you considering switching to LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding? Many remodelers and installers are anxious about switching to a new product—even when they know, in their gut, that it’s the right move. If you’re worried about change, here are four questions to ask yourself: What are the advantages of the product? How quickly can I get my team trained? How will the change benefit my company and reputation? What is the availability of the products?

Outdoor Living3 min
Shed Builder Spotlight: Lapp Structures

Since its start in 1987, Lapp Structures has transitioned from producing standard sheds to making aspirational builds a core element of its business. Coining the term DreamSpaces™, Lapp Structures helps customers create unique shed builds where they can explore their hobbies without sacrificing the comfort of home. Due to its unmatched consistency, proprietary technology and extreme durability, Lapp Structures names LP® Outdoor Building Solutions® a key component to its success.