Six Takes on Housing from Metrostudy

Posted in National Housing Market | Posted on 09-29-2014 | Written by Metrostudy News

Everybody wants a piece of Brad Hunter’s housing expertise these days!

brad hChief economist Brad Hunter opined on buyers, sellers, hot markets, and the overall temperature of the housing market in six media interviews this past week.

Click Here to See All Interviews

New Single-Family Home sales up in August , but not in every market

Posted in National Housing Market | Posted on 09-24-2014 | Written by Metrostudy News


brad hSales of new single-family houses in August 2014 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000, up by a startling 18%.   This is according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

Read Full Article Here

Also see Brad Hunter’s interview on CNBC discussing data from today’s housing report and he explains why the Western housing market is so hot!

Metrostudy’s Top 15 Markets as measured by change in move-ins

Posted in National Housing Market | Posted on 09-18-2014 | Written by Metrostudy News

Metrostudy does a 100% count within markets across the country of move-ins into newly-built homes.  This is a powerful and reliable measure of end-user demand.  The top two markets have outsized percentage changes because they are starting from a low base number.  In terms of the large markets, Central Florida has seen a 24.3% increase in new home demand in the past year, and Charlotte, NC, has seen a 23.4%.  Atlanta, which was savaged by the downturn, has seen a 22.9% increase.  New home construction is picking up in all of these markets, as builders scramble to meet increased demand.


Housing Starts Decline in August

Posted in National Housing Market | Posted on 09-18-2014 | Written by Metrostudy News


Today’s government data release on housing starts showed a 14.4% decline in the month of August, mostly driven by multifamily.  Single-family detached home construction was only down 2.4% on the month.  Total starts are still 8.0% higher than August of last year, and single-family starts are still 4.2% above the year-ago pace.

The apparent stagnation in national housing starts is not universal.  Looking deeper, and using Metrostudy’s more granular detail, we see that certain markets have seen considerable strength.  In our local-market tracking, we are still seeing significant gains versus a year ago in Atlanta (+16.2%), Nashville (+11.0%).  Southern California is also up sharply compared with this time a year ago (+16.7%), and Chicago has pulled itself up a bit from its recently extremely low levels as well (+15.4%).

New home production has gyrated month-to-month, but all in all, this has been a “flat” year, as measured by the Census Bureau data.  Totaling all housing starts in 2014, the number is only going to end up a few percentage points higher than in 2013.

Builder sentiment is still improving, reflecting the adjustment of home buyers to the higher level of home prices, and higher confidence in their personal finances.  Job growth is still erratic, but generally trending higher, and overall spending power of consumers is up.

Single-family starts fell 80% during the downturn, and have since only made it back to about 50% of “normal.”  Improving demand, combined with a need for public homebuilders to open more communities, will push the level of starts higher by 15% to 20% next year.

In thinking about the forecast, it is vital to look not just at home production, but also at the demand for new housing.  We measure demand the hard way:  we drive new subdivisions counting curtains and welcome mats.  The pace of move-ins has risen almost 10%, comparing projected calendar year 2014 with actual calendar year 2013.  That shows that the increases in housing starts is justified by bona fide user-driven demand.


Metrostudy Acquires New Home Trends

Posted in National Housing Market | Posted on 09-15-2014 | Written by Metrostudy News

Enhances Geographic Coverage and Service Offerings in Pacific Northwest

Washington, D.C. – September 15, 2014 – Metrostudy, Inc., a Hanley Wood company and the leading provider of primary research and analysis to the U.S. housing industry, announced today that it has acquired New Home Trends, Inc., a real estate research and consulting business serving the Pacific Northwest United States.

“The acquisition of New Home Trends represents an important step in Metrostudy’s growth strategy by enhancing our geographic scope and coverage,” said Peter Goldstone, CEO of Hanley Wood.  “The addition of Seattle, the 10th largest US MSA, completes our national footprint with local coverage in all of the top 20 MSAs.”

New Home Trends is based in Bothell, WA.  In addition to the Seattle market, New Home Trends offers extensive research coverage and analysis in Portland, OR, Boise, ID and Spokane, WA.

“Seattle is one of the fastest growing housing markets in the United States, making it an important growth opportunity for our customers,” said Chris Veator, President of Metrostudy.   “New Home Trends has deep knowledge and research capabilities in the Pacific Northwest that will greatly complement our existing Metrostudy platform and allow us to offer an even more robust and valuable product platform to our customers.”

New Home Trends will be combined with Metrostudy and operate under the Metrostudy brand name.  Todd Britsch, President of New Home Trends, will continue his leadership role in the business as Regional Director for the Seattle and Oregon region.

“We are extremely excited about this transaction and the opportunities it will create for our employees and customers,” said Britsch.  “Metrostudy has an exceptional management team that recognizes the value of our platform and our expertise in the markets we serve.  Our customers will greatly benefit from enhanced and additional services and functionality offered by the combined business.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

About Hanley Wood

Hanley Wood is the premier information, media, event, and strategic marketing services company serving the residential, commercial design and construction industries. Utilizing the largest editorial- and analytics-driven construction market database, the company produces powerful market data and insights; award-winning publications, newsletters and websites; marquee trade shows and executive events; and strategic marketing solutions. To learn more, visit


About Metrostudy

Metrostudy is the leading provider of primary and secondary market information to the housing and related industries nationwide. Metrostudy provides research, data, analytics and consulting services to help builders, developers, lenders, suppliers, retailers, utilities and others make investment and business decisions every day. For more information, visit


About New Home Trends

New Home Trends provides the research and consulting needed to stay ahead of the Pacific Northwest’s dynamic Real Estate market. New Home Trends combines an extensive database of residential building information with experience, vision, and market knowledge and provides full-scale consulting services and on-demand reports for each community in the development process. For more information, visit


Top 20 Master Planned Communities Midway through 2014

Posted in National Housing Market | Posted on 09-03-2014 | Written by Metrostudy News

You cannot build a home without a Lot.  The availability of lots and ability to refresh supply has become the theme this year, as competition rises throughout the country.  Based on Metrostudy’s quarterly lot-by-lot survey, the Top 20 MPCs started more than 14,800 homes in the past twelve months, roughly the same as the number of starts noted in 2Q13 at 14,900 (still 60% above levels in 2Q12).  Starts still outpaced annual lot deliveries among more than half of the Top 20 MPCs, with a combined total of 13,700 lot deliveries over the last four quarters.  Of the seven MPCs that started fewer homes annually between 2Q13 and 2Q14 compared the previous year, only one delivered more lots than it had twelve months earlier.  Additionally, while lot deliveries are expected to increase further into early 2015 in most areas, as long as home starts grow at even a modest pace, lot supply will remain constrained, leading to continued change among communities within the Top 20 MPCs.

Central Florida’s The Villages remains the top MPC in the country with 3,447 annual new home starts through 2Q14.  The Villages also delivered the most lots over the past twelve months, more than 3,100, accounting for 25% of all annual lot deliveries in the Central Florida Market.

The biggest gains in starts activity were achieved by the Great Park in Orange County, California.  Opening last year at this time, the redevelopment of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station posted more than a 2168% gain in starts over the past twelve months (+542 homes started).  Nearby, the Rancho Mission Viejo community followed with a 256% increase and starts in  Houston’s Canyon Gate West and Jacksonville’s Nocatee communities rose by more than 50%.

(Note: Please click on the chart to view a larger image)

MPC Sept.


There were five new additions to the list over the past 12 months (see chart).  Those communities slipping out of the top 20 this year include:  Sienna Plantation, Mountain House, Highlands Ranch, Firethorne, and Westridge. 

Additional highlights from the Top 20 Master Planned Communities:

  • Production is increasing throughout the nation, but Texas still carried eight of the top 20 spots on the list, with Houston holding seven spots and Florida reporting four communities.  Nevada and California each reported three communities, while Colorado and Utah each netted one.  Communities within Arizona and Washington DC are on the rise and challenging to enter the Top 20 (both have at least one community within the next ten spots).
  • 13 of the Top 20 MPCs started more homes during the past 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. Only six communities, however, have delivered more lots over the past twelve months than they started.
  • The highest rising communities on the list were new entry, Great Park (at #9), Nocatee rising from #10 to #3, and Stapleton, up from #11 to #7 through the end of 2Q14.
  • As noted earlier, the largest year-over-year gain in start production were reported in Great Park (+2168%), followed by Rancho Mission Viejo (+256%), Canyon Gate West (+68%), and Nocatee (+53%).  Declines occurred in seven communities among the top 20 MPCs, including Cinco Ranch (-34%), Mountain’s Edge (-34%) and Providence (-34%). 
  • Four of the communities on the list were less than 15% away from build-out through 2Q14:  Cinco Ranch, the Woodlands, Nocatee, and Mountain’s Edge.  Only two communities were less than 40% complete:  Great Park and Daybreak.
  • Two developers achieved multiple MPCs on the list:  Johnson Development (all three MPC’s were in Houston) and Focus Property Group (both in Las Vegas).
  • Seven of the Top 20 MPCs held less than a 10.0-month supply of Vacant Developed Lots.  Four communities were down to a 5.0-month supply or less:  Rancho Mission Viejo (2.7 months), Great Park (2.8 months), Stapleton (4.7 months), and The Villages (4.8 months).

These results are based solely on the Metrostudy lot-by-lot housing survey.  Results are not based on a phone survey to individual developers, nor homebuilders.  Metrostudy’s independent survey monitors the supply of detached and attached homes on a quarterly basis.  In most markets, our survey tracks all condominium, townhome, duplex, and single family construction activity.  The survey allows us to consistently and accurately track the size of the total market, as well as supply and demand within various levels of each market.  Further, it helps to establish the depth of each market and the scope of the competition.  The information included within this report has been collected in the field by Metrostudy staff, driving and surveying every lot in every community, within each market surveyed.  Rankings are based on the annual start activity of each master plan surveyed under this methodology.


Sarasota 2Q14 Housing Survey: The “Pause” is Over; Starts Up Even as Entry Level Construction Falls

Posted in National Housing Market, Sarasota - Bradenton Market | Posted on 09-02-2014 | Written by Metrostudy News

  • Single-family housing starts up 8.9% 2Q14 over 2Q13; Annual starts rate up 18%
  • While we are seeing both volume and price increases, 2014 price increases are more moderate than 2013
  • Starts of homes under $250k are down 19.3% from 2Q13 levels; starts over $250k are up almost 64%

September 2014: Metrostudy’s survey of the 2Q14 Sarasota/Bradenton housing market shows that the “pause” that started last fall is showing signs of abating.  In Sarasota-Bradenton, 1,056 single-family units were started in 2Q14, up 8.9% compared to 2Q13. The annual start rate compared to last year increased by 18.0%, to 3,839 annual starts. Single-family quarterly closings totaled 882 units, 15.6% higher than 2Q13. The annual closings rate was 3,582 units per year, 30.4% above the annual closings rate in the same quarter last year.

As in other regions, we are increasingly seeing declining levels of starts for new homes in the entry level price ranges. “For the twelve months ending June 30, 2014, new homes starts in price ranges under $250k totaled 1,448 units, down 19.3% from the 2Q13 annual activity,” said Tony Polito, Regional Director of Metrostudy’s Sarasota/Bradenton area. “Annual new homes starts in prices over $250k were up 63.6% for the twelve months ending June 30, 2014 versus June 30, 2013.”

Annual Start by Price Range

2q14 sara starts

The marginal 583 unit increase in the annual start pace was split: 346 less homes under $250k and 929 additional homes above $250k (159% of the growth came in the price ranges above $250k). The “pause” mostly affected Manatee County in 1Q14. During 2Q14, Manatee County rebounded strongly and recorded 596 housing starts, the highest level in four quarters and up 25.5% from 1Q13. During 2Q14, Sarasota County recorded 392 housing starts versus 363 starts in 1Q13, an 8.0% increase. Charlotte County is surveyed on a grid method only same quarter to same quarter starts are applicable.

Total single-family inventory, which is composed of units under construction, finished vacant and models, equaled 1,976 units on the ground at the end of the second quarter, a 6.6 month supply. Inventories increased by 15.0% compared to the same quarter last year.  Compared to last year, the under construction inventory rose by 128 units to 1,389. Finished vacant inventory increased by 37.0% from 284 units last year to 389 this year. However, the number of completions exceeded move-ins during the quarter and FV inventory increased by 68 units.

This quarter 839 lots were delivered to the Sarasota- Bradenton market. Vacant developed lot inventory stands at 37,957 lots, a decrease of 1.0% compared to 38,324 lots last year. Based upon the annual start rate, this level of lot inventory represents a 118.6 month supply, a decrease of 23 months compared to last year. At the end of 2Q2014, Manatee County had a 27.1-month supply, up slightly from a 27.1-month supply of VDL in 1Q2014. Sarasota County had a 33.9-month supply at 2Q2014, down from 37.9- month supply at 1Q2014. Housing activity increased in all three Counties, thereby reducing VDL months of supply.

“A review of deed records indicates that the “pause” had more effect on volume than pricing,” said Polito.  “While Sarasota is seeing both volume and price increases, the price increases are more moderate than in 2013. The major factors going forward will continue to be consumer confidence and general continued improvement in the national economy and the job market, which help retirees sell northern homes.”


Community                                        Ann Starts

Lakewood Ranch………………………………….559

The West Villages ………………………………..216

South Gulf Cove…………………………………..173

Grand Palm…………………………………………144

Palmer Ranch………………………………………129

Esplanade By Siesta Key ………………………..119

Heritage Harbour …………………………………111

Harrison Ranch……………………………………102

Greyhawk Landing ……………………………….. 87

Woodlands…………………………………………. 73

For information contact: Tony Polito @ 813.888.5151

About Metrostudy

Metrostudy, a Hanley Wood company, is the leading provider of primary and secondary market information to the housing and related industries nationwide.  Established in 1975 in Houston, Metrostudy provides research, data, analytics and consulting services that help builders, developers, lenders, suppliers, retailers, utilities and others make investment and business decisions every day.

About Hanley Wood

Hanley Wood is the premier information, media, event, and strategic marketing services company serving the residential, commercial design and construction industries. Utilizing the largest editorial- and analytics-driven construction market database, the company produces powerful market data and insights; award-winning publications, newsletters and websites; marquee trade shows and executive events; and strategic marketing solutions. To learn more, visit

Top 10 Markets: Percent Growth in New Residential Construction

Posted in National Housing Market | Posted on 08-26-2014 | Written by Brad Hunter

We often talk about markets in terms of the total volume of starts, and that cuts some of the smaller markets out of the discussion.  Measured by percent-change, some second-tier markets gain notice.

The graphs below show Metrostudy’s data for detached single-family starts.



And, below, we show the Top Ten markets, ranked by the percentage increase in single-family starts between the 2nd quarter of 2013 and the 2nd quarter of 2014.




New Home Sales Fall, But Outlook Still Positive

Posted in National Housing Market | Posted on 08-25-2014 | Written by Brad Hunter

brad hLast month’s miserable reading for New Home Sales (as measured by government trackers in June) was revised upward as we expected, but the July number fell 2.4%.  This decline is relatively modest, and the stated confidence interval for the 2.4% drop was plus or minus 11.9%, which means that the government isn’t sure whether new home sales actually rose or fell.

In order to understand what is going on, let’s take a look at what we are hearing around the country.  Builders were mostly unimpressed by the spring selling season, which we predicted would be “good, but not great.”  The summer was equally disappointing.  Our weekly surveys of hundreds of builders nationwide show that in many markets “traffic” is strong, but traffic “conversions” are low.  In everyday parlance:  people are coming in to the builders’ showrooms, but many of them are hesitant to sign on the dotted line.  This time of year was slow last year for conversions (depressed by the “taper talk” and an uptick in rates), but consumer confidence seems to be slightly worse this year.  Of course, new home prices are significantly higher than this time last year.  (The “sticker shock” we have been talking about for 12 months now is still a deterrent).

What do the next few months hold?  Job growth is improving, and we are seeing signs that some 30-year-olds living with their parents are going off and getting their own place, but that mostly affects the rental market, at least for now.  Retirees are showing more interest in buying, and many of them clearly have the cash to get the home that they want.  What is needed, though, in order to get significantly improved new home sales numbers, is increased activity in the entry-level new-home market.  And as you think about this segment, remember that entry-level does not mean only first-time home buyers.  An entry-level NEW home might be a move up from a resale home.

Our forecast is still for gradual improvement in new home demand through the rest of this year, picking up more momentum as we head into 2015.

Metrostudy’s Top 10 “Outlook and Market Health” Ranking

Posted in National Housing Market | Posted on 08-25-2014 | Written by Brad Hunter

Metrostudy’s Top Markets by Outlook Ranking

top ten new home sales aug


The Villages, FL – The most successful MPC in history is its own MSA, but it is starting to run short on land.  This is generating a lot of stir amongst developers who want to create “the next The Villages.”

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL – More than just “The Mouse,” Orlando attracts a diverse set of home-buying groups, and can grow along multiple directions/corridors.

Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL – Rapid growth in demand in a Florida market where there is still land left, and some affordable areas for new home construction.

Raleigh, NC – Demand is strong, but builders are bunching up too much in the $400,000+ Move-up segment.

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO – Denver is booming.  New home production is rising 15% this year, and forecast to repeat this growth rate in 2015.

Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL – A country-club paradise, new home demand is now taking off in the newly-developing inland areas.

San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA – Demand is still very strong, pushing further into the remote suburban locations in pursuit of relative affordability.

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ – Phoenix weakened in the last 12 months due to the price run up of 2013, but migration trends of retirees and Californians will support demand going forward.

Miami-Fort Lauderdale – West Palm Beach, FL – If you own land in this market, you are sitting pretty.  Land is in short supply in the coastal areas, but fundamental demand is extremely strong.

Provo-Orem, UT – This second-tier market has attracted a lot of attention from builders and developers, our studies show.