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:
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.
Available in 16 prefinished colors, LP® SmartSide® ExpertFinish® Trim & Siding can help you bring greater efficiency to your builds alongside a look your clients are sure to love. But did you know the LP SmartSide ExpertFinish collection includes more than typical siding materials?Continue Reading
When it comes to sub-floor systems, building with products designed to complement one another is critical for a smooth project. That’s why LP’s powerful pair of sub-flooring products, LP Legacy® Premium Sub-Flooring and LP Legacy Premium Sub-Floor Adhesive, offer a great solution to any sub-flooring project.
As spring showers ramp up, moisture can become a big concern both during and after construction. Properly installing flashing for windows in new construction is key as the build takes shape, and builders will also benefit from using materials designed specifically to resist water damage. And when it comes in through exterior walls, water intrusion can cause issues for homeowners long after the build is complete.
Overall, improvements in building envelopes have helped homeowners benefit from greater protection against moisture. Builders are able to create more energy-efficient homes overall due to these developments. However, when the exterior envelope doesn’t allow a structure to breathe, any moisture that gets trapped inside simply rots—causing more problems than intended. What is the solution to needing a tight building envelope that allows for proper airflow? Symbiotic materials, such as the LP Structural Solutions portfolio of products, provide an answer.