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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 Advice6 min

Top LP WeatherLogic® Air & Water Barrier Installation Mistakes

With this guide, you can avoid these top mistakes and ensure LP WeatherLogic panels keep air and water out—and that they’re backed by the LP WeatherLogic 30-year limited warranty.

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Business Advice4 min
What’s Behind the Walls: Tips for Selling Long-Term Home Value

The initial conversations with new homebuyers generally focus on architectural style, price per square foot and aesthetic requirements (like the dream kitchen island!). Discussing the structural details that determine the value of your home often happen while poring over blueprints. Here are some tips for having a conversation with your clients to help them understand the importance of investing in the part of their home that’s never seen.

Renovation6 min
How to Repair or Replace Rotted Siding

In this guide from LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding, you’ll learn how to replace rotted siding on a house and how to repair rotted wood siding, depending on the severity of your client’s current siding’s damage. With these simple tips, you’ll be able to spot damage and recommend new products that will help your clients enjoy their home’s new exterior look.

News & Stories5 min
Using APA Structural I Rated Sheathing: Building With LP Structural Solutions for Added Strength

When the build requires greater strength, look for an OSB roof and wall sheathing that is APA Structural I Rated Sheathing—also known as Struc I—for increased structural reliability. What is APA rated sheathing? This valuable designation is a “stamp of approval” that verifies the panels have passed APA’s manufacturing and performance standards.