Communication Before and After a Hurricane

source: wikipedia

Earlier this week, we explored some basic steps you, your family and your business can take to prepare for Hurricane Irma and hurricane conditions.  As the storm nears Florida, many people are either still on the road, putting up shutters or getting a hold of last-minute supplies (if any available).  Once the storm comes through, there will most likely be limited communication available, and without cell phone towers and electricity, your charged phones may be rendered useless despite your best efforts to have everything charged in advance.

For this reason, we have looked into some of the most useful advice we could find regarding communication before and after an emergency weather situation.  The FCC and FEMA have devised a list of valuable tips for being ready when loss of communication is on the horizon.  Here are some ways to prepare for and communicate during such emergencies:

Preparation:

  • Get back to basics – Radio and television broadcasters are an important source for news, safety and updates on local conditions. For this reason, secure a radio that is either battery-operated, solar-powered or crank-operated so that you can get news updates you will need later.   Also, make sure you are familiar with the radio and know how to use it; you don’t want to be figuring it out when you are actually in an emergency situation.
  • Have a printed list of contacts – As mentioned in our post earlier this week, a contact list should be printed for your business, as well as your family. Thanks to smart phones, most of us no longer know actual phone numbers anymore, and with contact lists on our phone requiring power, you will need a printed copy on hand.  Once printed, seal it in a Ziploc with other important paper documents.
  • Know your landline – Depending on the phone service you have for your landline, it may still require power to use it. Check with your service provider to know if you have VoIP, which is provided over broadband connections, or more traditional telephone service, which typically is powered over telephone lines. You will also want to make sure you have a phone that does not require power; cordless phones still require power and will not function during an outage.

 

During the Storm:

  • Limit phone calls – Only use the phone when needed for emergency situations. If you have service, a text to key contacts and family can be helpful for check-in, but you will want to conserve battery-life and keep the network open for others to be able to do the same.
  • Know your apps – Quite a few people have been buzzing over apps like “Zello” that allow you to use your phone like a walkie talkie. Make sure you understand the limitations as many still require a wifi connection.  An actual walkie talkie system may be worth the investment if you need to reach people nearby.
  • Adjust your power – On your cell phone, you have settings to adjust the power use. By adjusting the dimming/brightness of your screen and disabling and closing apps, you can conserve more energy.  If you do not have service, turn your phone off and check again later.  Do not leave it on and waste battery power just to see when service may or may not be up again.
  • Hold on the redial – It is easy to continually call a number multiple times in a row when we don’t reach someone. Try to avoid continuous redials as it can increase network congestion; allow for ample time in between attempts so that you conserve battery-life and avoid crowding the network.
  • Car as last resort – If you do not have power in your home and your car is not severely damaged, remember that your car can charge your phone. Only turn on your car if it is safe to do so and is located in an open space.  Do not start it up in a garage or closed spaces.

Communication can be frustrating during and after a storm, but be patient and safe.  Charge everything before the storm and conserve battery-life after it has passed.  Having a plan will alleviate some of the stress and increase the likelihood of making contact when you need it most.

Find more information at www.ready.gov http://www.redcross.org , or www.fema.gov 

For printable details on the tips listed above and more, visit: https://transition.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/emergency-communications-tips.pdf

For information on construction business and marketing tips, stay connected with the HBW Blog.  To get ahead of construction activity and gain access to the latest permitting data in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Oklahoma, contact HBW for more information.

Preparing for Hurricane Irma

 

If you are anywhere near Florida right now, chances are you are surrounded by panic and unanswered questions about where to go in time for Hurricane Irma’s arrival.  As of the Weather Channel’s report on Wednesday September 6th (11:30am), Hurricane Irma is a potentially catastrophic Category 5 hurricane that is heading toward the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and Cuba before posing a serious threat to Florida and parts of the Southeast beginning this weekend.  Where it will land in Florida and expected impact have yet to be determined, but in the meantime, it is time to prepare, not panic.  Here are a few key things you can do to get you and your company prepared for any impact the hurricane may have on the southeast:

  1. Communicate – Communicate your company’s plans for closure with your team and your clients. Have an emergency number available (if possible) for your clients to reach you or have the ability to leave a message that will be returned.  Have a call/text contact tree for your employees so that they can check in with each other if help is needed or if they are unable to get back in town once operating hours resume.
  2. Back Up – While you should already have back up of your computer systems in place, now is the time to perform an entire system back up to be stored in a secure, watertight location off site. Make a minimum of two copies to go with separate team members.  Also, use the cloud; whether you choose Microsoft cloud, Dropbox or something similar, be sure to have important documents and files uploaded to a cloud source you use and trust.
  3. Take Photos – This tip goes for home and office. Take photos of all equipment, furniture, etc. prior to the storm.  You should have everything of value photographed in case it is needed for insurance and/or replacement purposes.  Just as with your other important files, upload the photos to a cloud-based drive as well.
  4. Gather Documents – Paper documents including but not limited to property insurance, tax documentation, medical information, policies, etc. should be scanned and stored in your back up systems and cloud, and the hardcopies should be stored in watertight containers.
  5. Save Contacts – Your phone may be waterproof, but service is far from guaranteed after a storm. Make sure to back up your contacts on your phone to the cloud, as well as print out contacts to store safely.  You never know if you may actually need to dial a phone number from a different location, and having access to necessary contacts and phone numbers is essential.
  6. Protect Hardware – Computers, printers, cameras, monitors and other hardware should be protected in the event of a roof leak or broken window. Make sure to seal them and store them in a room where there aren’t any windows.  If you have covers specific for this purpose, great – If not, heavy duty garbage bags (doubled) and duct tape can be potentially helpful.
  7. Secure the Site – In addition to removing any of your materials and equipment from open projects, you may also be able to assist your clients by warning them of any outdoor furniture, grills or other items that they should secure indoors. Loose objects ranging from gardening tools to chaise lounges are usually the first things to get picked up by strong winds and can be the most damaging to buildings.

There are many steps to properly prepare for a storm of this magnitude.  No matter where you are and how little you may expect to feel from Hurricane Irma, it is time to have a plan in place for your business and family.  Food, water and flashlights are the basics that are essential for hurricane preparation, but you also want to make time to protect valuables, including data, so that you can expedite recovery from the storm and be back to business in the coming weeks.

For information on construction business and marketing tips, stay connected with the HBW Blog.  To get ahead of construction activity and gain access to the latest permitting data in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Oklahoma, contact HBW for more information.

Eco-Update: Solar and Sustainability in Florida

Earlier this summer, we reviewed the latest green building efforts in Florida through South Miami’s recent commitment to solar on new and renovated structures.  Since then, there have been quite a few stories published about solar and sustainable construction efforts happening throughout Florida; news about solar has been buzzing in the Sunshine State, and with Florida being one of HBW’s focus areas for construction leads, we decided to dig a little deeper to highlight just a few more earth-friendly efforts that have made headlines in the past month…

Solar is looking up in St. Petersburg, Florida.

It appears that South Miami has a friend in St. Petersburg, Florida.  The gulf coast city just outside of Tampa is looking to help pave the way for solar.  Similar to the law recently passed in South Miami, St. Pete’s City Council is considering a new law that would require solar panel installations on new homes; unlike South Miami, this law would also require solar panels to be installed on repaired roofs that have sustained heavy damage.

If the ordinance is passed, St. Petersburg would become the seconds city in Florida to require solar to be installed on new homes. Questions regarding the potential cost to homeowners was addressed by the Tampa Bay Times and answered as follows:

The typical new Florida home uses about 12,720 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. Adding an 8 kilowatt photovoltaic system at $2 per watt, minus the 30 percent federal tax credit, equals an average up-front price for residential solar panels at $11,000, according to the Florida Solar Panel Center at the University of Central Florida. That would lead to a monthly power bill of $11 instead of $125 per month.

While the ordinance has a road of discussions and review ahead, a tentative schedule calls for considering a final version by December, with the effective date in 2018. (source: Tampa Bay Times)

HERO program is behind sustainable improvements for Palm Beach homeowners.

As recently announced by Renovate America, homeowners across Palm Beach County now have access to “HERO”, a financing program that supports energy, efficiency and wind-resistance improvements.  Haven’t heard of HERO yet?  Well, if you are in Palm Beach County and looking to make sustainable improvements to your home, it is worth knowing about how HERO can assist in managing the cost.  The program enables homeowners to pay for upgrades over a period of time through an additional assessment on their property tax bill.  As a result of a partnership between the Florida Development Finance Corporation and Renovate America, HERO is the largest Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program in the country.

Improvements that meet the eligibility requirements include solar, energy-efficient HVAC systems, storm shutters and other wind damage protection that meet or exceed Florida Building Code requirements.  The products eligible for financing through the program have the potential to lower utility bills and/or insurance premiums and offer homeowners additional safety and comfort.

In addition to Palm Beach, other Florida counties that offer HERO financing include Broward, Brevard, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Brevard, Orange, Leon, Nassau, Pasco and Charlotte.

Volusia County has a solar energy cooperative.

Earlier this week, Volusia County provided residents an opportunity to take part in a solar co-op.  The co-op has a variety of partners including but not limited to the League of Women Voters of Volusia County, Sierra Club’s local chapter, Stetson University and the City of Deland.  The group is the 16th solar cooperative in Florida.  To continue to move forward in Volusia County, the cooperative will need secured commitments from a minimum of 30 homeowners.  The informational sessions are free to attend, and the co-op is free to join.  The first session is scheduled for September 20, 2017 at Stetson University, with other sessions to follow through October and November at various locations throughout Volusia County.  For more information, visit the FL SUN website.

For more industry news and construction business tips, stay connected with the HBW Blog.  To get ahead of construction activity and gain access to the latest permitting data in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Oklahoma, contact HBW for more information on construction data reports and industry leads.

Home Builders Helping Houston

Ways home builders (and anyone) can help residents of Houston rebuild and recover in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

You don’t have to be in Houston to know that it sustained massive flooding and damage from its recent hit by Hurricane Harvey.  Open any newspaper or watch any news network in the U.S., and the heartbreaking images of the devastation that Houston is facing can be overwhelming.

The truth is that recovery from natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey take time, but they also take the right people and groups to make the rebuilding happen.  As home builders, we are in a unique position to lend a helping hand to our neighbors in need.  From working with building material suppliers to partnering with Houston-area builders to support their businesses and growing demand, home builders can do much more than write a check.

When searching the internet for ways to support Houston, the list is seemingly never-ending.  For this reason, we have selected a handful of options and sources for supporting victims of Hurricane Harvey.  While this list is not to endorse or favor any one organization over another, it is to serve as a starting point and guide to get you going on your own efforts to be part of Houston’s recovery.

  1. American Red Cross – While this seems the most obvious, it is always worth looking into the many relief programs that are being led by the American Red Cross. Beyond receiving direct donations, they mobilize a network of volunteers, on the ground, to get to the families and people who need it most. If you would like to volunteer with the Red Cross, you should visit the volunteer section of redcross.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to apply to be a volunteer.  In addition to any donations or volunteering you may offer, sharing their social media posts that direct people to the correct contacts and phone numbers for help can also help them reach those in need.
  2. Donate Blood – In addition to donating blood through the American Red Cross which provides 40% of the nation’s blood (source: ARC), local centers like the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center are in great need for blood donations. It has been stated that the greatest need is for O positive and O negative.  To find a list of locations, click here.
  3. Find a Charity – If you are looking to provide direct support (financial or other) to a local charity in Houston, then you will certainly want to do your research. You can check out credentials of charitable organizations through websites such as Charity Navigator.  Charity Navigator provides valuable information about charities and now offers a specific section for Hurricane Harvey.  To confirm an organization’s charitable status, there is always the IRS.  By using their EO Select Check Tool, you can confirm their listing as a nonprofit.  Keep in mind that smaller groups like churches may not be listed.
  4. Help Rebuild – While immediate needs for survival and cleanup are occurring now, there will be a need for rebuilding in the near future. Groups like Habitat for Humanity Houston have an inside line to those in need of shelter and are constantly open to new volunteers.  This is where you and your business have a chance to make a difference.  By offering a group of volunteers, leading a building project or sponsoring a home, you can put your construction expertise to good use.  As previously mentioned, you may also reach out to contractors in the area to learn of their needs and see how you can partner up on relief efforts.
  5. Donate Food and Clothing – According to a recent release from CNN, “Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is asking people to donate clothing, medical supplies, baby items, and food to nearby shelters. Feeding Texas is coordinating with local food banks to distribute food and cleaning supplies. The organization is asking people to drop off non-perishable food, bleach, and paper towels. The Texas Diaper Bank is seeking diaper donations. You can mail them to 5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, Texas 78238 or drop them off at the same address.” (source: CNN).  Houston Food Bank is Houston’s largest food donation foundation; it will be providing food and supplies in the short term and for many months to come to residents in southeast Texas.  Through its partner agencies and network, the Food Bank aims to get food to those in greatest need.  They currently have volunteer openings as well as a list of food and supply donations needed.

While we could write a book on the many charities currently active in Houston, we encourage you to seek a partner that is the right fit for you and your business.  Once you find a charity, make sure to contact them directly to get an idea of what they need most.  Often, especially with food banks or shelters, donations of clothes and food will be sent with the right intention but may not be right for that particular organization.  Inquire about their wish list and find out how you and your business can be most effective in rebuilding the Houston community.

For information on construction business and marketing tips, stay connected with the HBW Blog.  To get ahead of construction activity and gain access to the latest permitting data in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Oklahoma, contact HBW for more information.

Florida Top Home Builders – July 2017

HBW residential construction report and builder spotlight for July 2017

FL New Residential Construction Permits by Area – July 2017

Since June, residential construction is looking up across Florida.  During the month of July, there were more than 6,200 housing starts reflecting a 24% month-over-month increase.  Out of the five areas reviewed (Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Southwest, Southeast), Tampa came out on top for total starts having nearly 1,600 new residential construction permits on file for the month.  Orlando was next and following close behind with more than 1,420 new permits.

While Lennar Homes and D.R. Horton were the most active builders having the most starts across the state in July, when taking a closer look by area, there are a few other builders making their mark as well.  Here’s the breakdown of top builders and new construction activity for July and by region:

TAMPA

As previously mentioned, Tampa was the leading area for starts in Florida last month.  Nearly 200 active builders were responsible for close to 1,600 housing starts with an average value of approximately $255k.  Lennar Homes was the leader with more than 180 starts, and most of the leading builder’s new permits originated from Pasco and Hillsborough counties.  The top three builders are as follows:

Lennar Homes – 181 permits, average value: $248k

D.R. Horton – 139 permits, average value: ~$200k

Standard Pacific Homes – 115 permits, average value: $279k

ORLANDO

Last month, Orlando had more than 1,420 housing starts with the highest average value ($308k) of any other region in the state.  Out of the 200 active builders on file with HBW in July, D.R. Horton was positioned on top with close to 200 housing starts and an average value of construction close to $254k.  Here is a look at the top three home builders in Orlando for the month:

D.R. Horton – 194 permits, average value: $254k

Pulte Homes – 93 permits, average value: > $316k

Lennar Homes – 92 permits, average value: ~$204k

SOUTHWEST

In July, there were more than 1,400 housing starts with an average construction value just over $253k in Southwest Florida.  More than half of all new construction took place in Lee and Sarasota counties.  Out of the close to 250 active home builders on file, Lennar Homes led for total new permits with 224 housing starts. The top three builders in the southwest region for July are as follows:

Lennar Homes – 224 permits, average value: $210k

D.R. Horton – 106 permits, average value: $221k

Pulte Homes – 88 permits, average value: $201k

JACKSONVILLE

Nearly 150 home builders were active with new residential construction in Jacksonville last month.  Out of the 970+ housing starts at an average construction value of $247.5k, close to 40% took place in St. Johns County.  The top three home builders in the area for the month are as follows:

D.R. Horton – 152 permits, average value: $153k

Dream Finders Construction and Homes – 117 permits, average value: >$290k

Lennar Homes – 69 permits, average value: $277k

SOUTHEAST

In the southeast region, there were more than 820 housing starts with an average value of $271k.  St. Lucie County had the most new construction on file out of all southeast counties reviewed with 233 permits for the one-month period.  Out of the 200 active home builders in the area, Lennar Homes was a leader for total permits having 122 housing starts with an average value just over $151k.  Here is a closer look at the top three home builders for total new residential construction permits:

Lennar Homes – 122 permits, average value: >$151k

D.R. Horton – 102 permits, average value: >$227k

GL Homes – 65 permits, average value: ~$407k

Information utilized for the graphs and above listed figures for Florida residential construction was directly derived from HBW construction data reports. To gain access to the HBW database and receive custom and detailed reports on the latest residential and commercial building activity in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma, please contact HBW for details.

5 Ways to Get Your Company “Out There”

Beyond the standard self-generated social media posts, here are five ways to get your business noticed.

Content, content, content – today it is all about content.  From Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to generating buzzworthy videos and posts, your marketing success depends largely on the content you are generating, and distributing.  The truth is that you can create content for days; whether you provide an aerial video of your latest construction project or choose to highlight new products or services, if you have an active business you have plenty of content.  What you do with that content is really what counts.  We all know how easy it is to simply tweet or retweet, upload a video to YouTube or tag clients in the latest FaceBook news, but distributing content effectively is much more complex than any single post.

One post can only go so far.  Social networks are called “social” because they are social by nature.  Your content must be shared (and shared again) in order to spread across your audience.  Sure, you can tap into the latest viral news or video or produce your own buzzworthy content, but there are more strategic ways to make sure you maximize your reach.  Here are five ways to get noticed and share content beyond a singular post in your network:

  1. Other Networks – While your FaceBook page may have thousands of “Likes” and your Twitter account gains new followers every day, don’t overlook the power of other networks. Reach out to a publication that is distributed to your target audience.  From online publications and construction newsletters to industry magazines, the options are endless.  Consider writing an advice or how-to article to submit to your chosen publication.  While you won’t have the opportunity to plug your product, you most certainly will have the chance to highlight your expertise and get your company name out to an extended audience.
  2. Partner with Giants – Every industry, including construction, has their big fish and giants. Those giants are often influencers within the industry and can be great partners for sharing content.  Before approaching any big player (individual or corporation), make sure you have a clear understanding of your objective.  Perhaps you would like to quote them in your marketing materials or embed their latest video on your website. No matter how you choose to include them in your marketing plan, make sure it is mutually beneficial and designed for them to share the content within their networks as well.
  3. Nurture Relationships – While you should always be seeking and nurturing prospects, don’t overlook your current clients. One kitchen renovation or landscape design should not be the end of your relationship.  Your current clients are just as valuable as your future clients when it comes to sharing content.  For this reason, you must keep them engaged and continue to serve as a resource for them.  In turn, they will have the opportunity to share your latest newsletter or how-to video within their networks.
  4. Signature Content – Your email signature can be a powerful player in sharing content. Think about it… Every email that leaves your business has the ability to be forwarded and shared; with hundreds of emails each day, your team’s signature should have information beyond an address and website.  Consider having members of your sales team add something new to their signature each month.  From promotional discounts to eye-catching images that link to your portfolio, give your team the tools and content they need to get noticed in everything including email.
  5. Lead Follow-up – When following up with your leads (including your latest HBW leads), it is important to send more than a generic “Did you get my message?”. In addition to the featured link that will be in your signature (see #4), you should also provide them with something educational.  For example, if you are looking to offer new windows, consider providing a link to a company video that shows them the signs of windows needing to be replaced and how they can better prepare their home for changes in weather and energy savings.

By combining your current social media marketing efforts with other groups and outlets, you will be able to multiply your reach and increase the likelihood of getting noticed where it counts.

For more information on construction business and marketing tips, stay connected with the HBW Blog.  To get ahead of construction activity and gain access to the latest permitting data in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Oklahoma, contact HBW for more information on construction data reports and industry leads.

7 Things to Know About Swimming Pool Construction in Florida

HBW Insider: Florida New Swimming Pool Construction Report through Q2-2017

New swimming pool construction is only getting better for Florida-based builders.  Through the second quarter of 2017, new pool construction is up 6% in comparison to the same time last year, resulting in more than 12,000 new permits in the HBW database.

FL Pool Permits by Area thru Q2-2017

Upon review of the latest Swimming Pool Construction Activity Trend Report from HBW, here are seven insider highlights that provide a summarized and closer look at where new swimming pool permits are available and growing:

  1. Every Florida area reviewed, with the exception of the southwestern region, experienced a year-over-year increase in new pool construction ranging from 4% to 12% through the second quarter. The southwest portion of the state remained steady and consistent with last year, neither increasing nor decreasing in activity.
  2. The greatest year-over-year increase in new pool construction could be found in the northern region at a 12% gain. The western region had the second greatest increase through Q2 at 11%.
  3. Out of the six regions reviewed (Central, West, SE, SW, NE, NW), Southwest Florida had the greatest total number of pool starts through the second quarter of this year with 3,050 permits on file with HBW.
  4. Lee County (SW) is the #1 county in the state for total new swimming pool permits. With just over 1,000 starts, there has already been an 11% year-over-year increase in new pool construction in Lee County.
  5. Other counties with high concentrations of new pool construction include:
    • Orange County, Central FL (806 permits, +7%)
    • Palm Beach County, SE (800 permits, +3%)
    • Collier County, SW (739 permits, +2%)

FL Top 5 Counties for Total Pool Permits Q2 2016 vs. 2017

  1. In comparison to 2016, the greatest % of growth in new swimming pool construction through Q2-2017 could be found in counties including:
    • Pasco County, West (+35%)
    • Clay County, NE (+25%)
    • St. Johns County, NE (+23%)
  2. While Florida is seeing increases in new pool construction overall, a couple of areas have undergone a dip in starts since last year and include the following counties:
    • Sumter County, West (-23%)
    • Manatee County, SW (-21%)
    • Broward County, SE (-14%)

HBW will continue to monitor new construction patterns closely and provide monthly and quarterly reports to keep you in the know. To gain access to the HBW database and receive custom and detailed reports on the latest residential and commercial building activity in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma, please contact HBW for details.

Florida Residential Construction Q2 Review

Through the second quarter of this year, Florida has experienced a 13% year-over-year increase in housing starts.

We are just halfway through the year, and Florida is already on target for having the best year for total housing starts in more than 5 years.  From January to June, there have been 36,280 housing starts recorded by HBW throughout the state, a 13% increase in comparison to 2016.  From the northern-most regions of the state to the higher value areas of South and Central Florida, new residential construction activity has spiked across the board.  With increases ranging as high as 30% (West FL) to smaller spikes of 6% (Southwest FL), permit data has been growing in the HBW database.

FL Resid. Permits by Area thru Q2-2017

The western region of Florida has experienced the greatest increase in comparison to the same time last year; through Q2 there were more than 8,000 housing starts in the west, reflecting a 30% year-over-year increase.  More than half of all new residential construction activity in the west took place in the counties of Hillsborough (2,611 permits) and Polk (2,022 permits), with both areas reflecting an annual increase of approximately 24%.

Another area teeming with new construction is Central Florida.  Through Q2, there were nearly 7,400 housing starts in Central Florida which positions it just about 8% ahead of last year.   The Orlando city-central county of Orange had the highest concentration of housing starts for any county in Florida with approximately 3,050 new permits (+7%) on file through Q2. The coastal county of Brevard has experienced the greatest growth since last year as it had a 24% increase in residential construction, resulting in 1,015 new permits for the six-month period.

Moving to the south, the southern region of the state has seen significant growth in new residential permits in comparison to the same time last year.  With just under 4,000 housing starts, the southeast experienced a 22% year-over-year increase in housing starts, and Miami-Dade County  (1,235 permits) held the highest concentration of new permits.  In the southwestern region, there has been a 6% year-over-year increase in housing starts through Q2, resulting in more than 6,600 new permits.  New construction is spread somewhat evenly across the counties of Lee (1,984 permits), Sarasota (1,512 permits) and Collier (1,410).  All southwest counties reviewed, with the exception of Manatee and Charlotte, are ahead of last year’s figures for new residential construction.

Finally, we reviewed the northwestern region inclusive of a couple of neighboring counties (Baldwin and Mobile) in Alabama.  New residential construction has been steady and increasing.  Through Q2, there were nearly 4,750 housing starts in the northwest, reflective of a 7% increase in new construction activity in comparison to 2016.  Baldwin County had the greatest total number of starts on file for Alabama (1,103 permits), and Santa Rosa County’s 11% increase and 737 starts resulted in it ranking #1 for northwestern counties in Florida.

FL Top 10 Counties for New Resid. Permits – Q2 2016 vs. 2017

When looking at higher-value (>$500k) residential construction starts, Central Florida has the highest total at 553 permits, and the southeast is not far behind with approximately 500 higher value permits on file for Q2.  While the southeast region is tracking just below last year’s figures, the central portion of the state is on a pace to set itself slightly ahead of last year for total starts above $500k.

Information utilized for the graphs and above listed figures for Florida residential construction was directly derived from HBW construction data reports. To gain access to the HBW database and receive custom and detailed reports on the latest residential and commercial building activity in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma, please contact HBW for details.

Texas Residential Construction 2nd Quarter Review

HBW Report: New Residential Construction Permits in Texas through Q2-2017

Through the first half of this year, Texas is ahead of 2016 in new residential construction.  With more than 36.2k housing starts on file with HBW this year, Texas has experienced a 9% year-over-year increase in new home construction.

TX Total Permits by Area – Q2-2016 vs. Q2-2017

Out of the four major metro areas reviewed (Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio), Houston and Dallas continue to drive growth in the Texas housing market.  Just through the second quarter, there were more than 15.2k housing starts in Houston, reflecting an 11% increase in comparison to the same time last year.  More than half of all new residential permits in Houston originated from Harris County which has experienced a year-over-year spike of more than 13% in new home construction.

While Dallas ranked second highest for total housing starts (>11.7k permits), it remains a leading metro area for higher value (>$500k) homes in Texas.  Through the second quarter of this year, the Dallas area experienced a 12% year-over-year increase in new residential construction, and approximately 8% of those starts were for construction projects valued over $500k.  Out of the Dallas counties reviewed, Tarrant and Collin were standouts as more than half of all new home construction took place there through the second quarter.  The Dallas county that is experiencing the most year-over-year growth in housing starts by far is Rockwell County where there has been more than a 43% increase in new residential construction permits.

Moving on to the Austin area, there has been a small but noticeable year-over-year increase of 4%, with incremental growth each quarter.  Out of the nearly 5,900 housing starts in Austin through June of this year, the bulk of new construction took place in Travis County (3,492 permits), where there has been more than a 15% year-over-year increase in new residential construction.  While there were drops in new permits averaging around -15% in both Williamson and Bastrop counties, the increases in all other Austin areas reviewed are keeping home building rates steady.

San Antonio was the only metro area in Texas that did not experience an increase in housing starts through Q2.  That being stated, the minor dip of -1% in housing starts is not sounding any alarms, as the area is tracking similarly to residential construction patterns thru Q2 of last year.  Out of the close to 3,400 housing starts in San Antonio through June, just about half took place in Bexar County (1,573 permits), where there has been more than a 4% increase in residential construction activity in comparison to the same time last year.

TX Top 5 Counties for Total Permits thru Q2 – 2016 vs. 2017

Information utilized for the reports and graphs for Texas residential construction was directly derived from HBW construction data reports. To gain access to the HBW database and receive custom and detailed reports on the latest residential and commercial building activity in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma, please contact HBW for details.

Atlanta on Track for a Record Year

New residential construction in the Metro Atlanta area is on track for being the best year for housing starts in over five years.

Through the second quarter of this year, Atlanta is already showing signs of a chart-topping year for housing starts.  Since the start of the year through June, there have been more than 12.3k housing starts in the Metro Atlanta area, reflecting an 8% year-over-year increase.  Over the last five years, Atlanta has exhibited growth in new residential construction, and if housing starts continue at the current rate, this year will be its best year yet.

 

ATL Permits 2012-2016

From a county-wide perspective, Gwinnett County continues to be a hot spot for new home construction.  With nearly 2k housing starts through Q2, the area has experienced a 3% increase in comparison to the same time last year.  Over the last several years, Gwinnett has exhibited an upward moving trend, and 2017 is no exception.  Not far behind, Fulton County is also a top locale for new homes; with more than 1,350 housing starts, Fulton has experienced a 10% increase in residential construction in comparison to Q2-2016.  Additionally, Fulton holds the highest concentration of higher value (>$500k) housing starts and is somewhat consistent with last year’s totals for higher value construction.

While Forsyth County has experienced a drop in new home construction (-22%) in comparison to the same time last year, it still ranks third-highest for total housing starts (1,218 permits).  On the other hand, the counties of Cherokee and Cobb both show signs of growth since last year and are currently positioned fourth and fifth with 1,073 and 902 permits through Q2 respectively.

ATL Top Counties for Total Permits Q2 2016 vs. 2017

When taking a look at some of the smaller counties in Georgia, there have been significant increases in housing starts since last year.  For example, the smallest county in Georgia (Clarke County) has nearly 40% more housing starts through Q2 of this year, and housing starts in the less populated county of Newton have nearly doubled in comparison to last year.

Being only halfway through 2017, there is room for fluctuations and changes in construction patterns.  That being said, on the current course Atlanta is experiencing a healthy dose of residential construction, and this year is trending and tracking as one for the books.

Information utilized for the graphs and above listed figures for metro Atlanta residential construction was directly derived from HBW construction data reports. To gain access to the HBW database and receive custom and detailed reports on the latest residential and commercial building activity in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma, please contact HBW for details.