Raleigh’s in one of nation’s 12 ‘regional powerhouses driving the U.S. economy’

Raleigh is included in one of the nation’s 12 “regional powerhouses driving the U.S. economy,” according to a report released Wednesday by The Atlantic Cities.

The dozen regions identified by the urban thinktank include “Bos-Wash,” the largest region that includes Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.; “Chi-Pitts,” the midwestern area stretching from Chicago to Pittsburgh; and “Char-lanta,” which includes the Triangle.

“Char-lanta” is described as being “home to 22 million people, takes in 45 metros, including Atlanta, Georgia; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Birmingham, Alabama,” writes Atlantic Cities co-founder Richard Florida, in the report. “With more than a trillion in economic output, its economy is bigger that South Korea’s, placing it among the world’s fifteen largest economies.”

For other interesting factoids about these mega-regions, click here.

Rebecca Troyer manages the day-to-day process of delivering the daily digital content and the weekly print edition of the Triangle Business Journal..

Once again, new home sizes start going up in the Triangle

The urge to downsize the home seems to be subsiding.

The average size of a new home built in 2013 in the Triangle went from 2,379 square feet in 2005 to 2,526 square feet in 2013, according to a report by residential research firm Metrostudy, and it’s a trend that’s backed up by what’s happening nationally, as well.

“Remember how all the headlines just a couple of years ago were about how new homes were getting smaller, and how micro housing was going to take over and nobody would buy larger houses, while Metrostudy kept seeing the opposite,” saysJay Colvin, director of Metrostudy’s Triangle and Triad regions.

Colvin’s research shows that the average new home price in the Triangle may have dropped 9 percent to $264,570 in 2009 from $290,018 in 2008, but the average square footage from a new home dropped only 3 percent.

“It was a buyers’ market, so they negotiated price down, but bought essentially the same homes,” Colvin says.

Increasingly in recent months, he says, builders in the Triangle have seen buyers making up for lost time. Young buyers are skipping the starter home and going straight from renting an apartment into a larger, move-up type home.

Retirees are demanding more square footage, as well, even as they are downsizing. “We’ve increasingly seen move down buyers, buy larger homes,” Colvin says. He notes that at Carolina Arbors, the Del Webb active adult community in Durham, the average base floor plan is 1,828 square feet, and all four of the floor plans they offer are larger than the largest plan that Del Webb had offered at Carolina Preserve, its previous active adult community in Cary.

Economics have a lot to do with the shift to larger home sizes.  Homebuyers typically buy as much home as they can afford, which is influenced by interest rates, household income and credit scores, and affluent buyers have been more numerous in the market.

Nationally, the share of new homes with at least four bedrooms has also been on an upward trend, rising from 34 percent in 2009 to 48 percent last year, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

The median income of new-home buyers has climbed from $91,768 in 2005 to $107,607 in 2011, and during the same period the number of new home sales has dramatically declined, from 1.28 million to 306,000.

“There are not as many people who have the income that can qualify for a new home,” says Rose Quint, NAHB assistant vice president for survey research. In North Carolina, Colvin points out that the unemployment rate for young adults between ages 20 and 25 is more than 12 percent. “So there is a big pool of young people still in college, living with parents, and renting who are waiting for employment” and to buy a home, Colvin says. “I believe, once they do find jobs, you’ll see historical trends in life event changes resume and the Triangle will see smaller lower priced homes reemerge as influencers in market dynamics.”

Amanda Jones Hoyle covers commercial and residential real estate for the Triangle Business Journal. Follow her on Twitter @TBJrealestate

Cary, Apex on list of America’s 10 safest suburbs

The two Wake County communities ranked No. 6 and No. 7.

Cary and Apex have landed on another top 10 list – this time as two of America’s safest suburbs.

The two Wake County communities ranked No. 6 and No. 7 among 120 communities that are suburbs of the 50 most populous U.S. cities, according to Movoto, a real estate brokerage firm that operates in 30 states.

Movoto’s rankings were based on FBI data on property crimes per capita, violent crimes per capita and the chances of being the victim of a crime.

Rebecca Troyer manages the day-to-day process of delivering the daily digital content and the weekly print edition of the Triangle Business Journal. Troyer also handles inquiries on news coverage and newspaper deadlines.

Cisco CEO Chambers lauds North Carolina for focus on jobs growth

“North Carolina is a great example where they’re focused on job creation and making changes”

The federal government should take a lesson from North Carolina. That’s the gist of some comments thatCisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) CEO John Chambers made to FOX Business on Thursday.

“I think the governors get it,” he says. “”I think that’s why our next president will probably be from the governor ranks on that if a Republican gets elected. And you are seeing them invest in our future.”

He points to North Carolina as a good example. “North Carolina is a great example where they’re focused on job creation and making changes,” he says.

But Chambers is less than impressed with February’s national job numbers that came out today (March 8, 2014). While many pundits are hailing the addition of a better-than-expected 175,000 jobs, Chambers says we should be doing better.

“I think our economy candidly should be growing faster than it currently is,” he tells FOX Business Network. “We should be creating more jobs, more than 250,000 a month to really get back on our feet and get unemployment numbers down over a long period of time.”

But there’s good news, he says, pointing to his own company’s growth as a sign that things may be looking up for the larger economy.

“Our business has been steadily increasing over the last year and a half in what we call our enterprise accounts, large businesses and medium businesses,” he says. “Both of them went into double digits this last quarter, in terms of year-over-year growth. That’s usually a good indication of economic growth later, and it’s usually a good indication of capital spending from business. Jobs will usually follow that. So I think the U.S. is slowly coming out of this.”

As to why the U.S. isn’t doing better? Chambers points to tax policy – an issue he’s been outspoken about before. “Every other major exporting country in the world brings back their foreign earnings at 0 to 2 percent,” he says. “Our country charges 35 percent, so companies cannot bring back their foreign earnings. If the government would change the tax policy to allow us to bring back those foreign earnings we have overseas in our cash, I’d bring it all back and invest in America – in jobs, in acquisitions, commitments to our shareholders, etc. And it’s something that’s got to change.”

Earlier this month, Chambers announced that he had selected Toronto for a $100 million facility investment – not the United States. He has repeatedly said it’s easier to do business in countries such as Canada than the United States.

Cisco employs more than 4,000 people at its campus in Research Triangle Park.

Lauren Ohnesorge covers technology, biotechnology and Durham County for the Triangle Business Journal.

NYT travel blog touts ’36 hours in Raleigh’

New York Times travel blog featured the City of Oaks

Thursday’s New York Times travel blog featured the City of Oaks in its “36 hours in Raleigh” feature, noting a dozen places readers should consider visiting this weekend between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning.

Included in the proposed “itinerary” are stops at Clyde Cooper’s Barbecue, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and several restaurants and bars.

For the complete travelogue, click here.

Rebecca Troyer, Managing Editor, Triangle Business Journal, manages the day-to-day process of delivering the daily digital content and the weekly print edition. Troyer also handles inquiries on news coverage and newspaper deadlines.

Triangle home prices still rising, but tracking below national average

North Carolina is within 10 percent of it’s peak home price appreciation at the height of the housing bubble in 2006 and 2007.

Home prices in the Raleigh-Cary and in the Durham-Chapel Hill metro areas increased more than 7 percent in January, according to a CoreLogic report, but the region trails the national average home price increase of 12 percent.

CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX), a residential real estate data firm, noted also in its Home Price Index report for January that 22 states, including North Carolina, are within 10 percent of their peak home price appreciation at the height of the housing bubble in 2006 and 2007.

“Polar vortices and a string of snow storms did not manage to weaken house price appreciation in January,” stated Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “The last time January month-over-month and year-over-year price appreciation was this strong was at the height of the housing bubble in 2006.”

Home prices in Raleigh, including distressed sales, increased by 7.3 percent in January 2014 compared to January 2013. On a month-over-month basis, home prices increased by 1.4 percent in January 2014 compared to December 2013.

In Durham, home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 7.4 percent in January 2014 compared to January 2013. On a month-over-month basis, home prices increased by 1.4 percent in January.

Nationally, home prices increased 12 percent in January 2014 compared to the year prior, which represents 23 months of consecutive year-over-year increases in home prices nationally, according to Corelogic. On a month-to-month basis, home prices nationwide increased by 0.9 percent in January.

The CoreLogic Pending HPI indicates that February 2014 home prices, including distressed sales, are expected to increase 12.5 percent over the year prior and increase 0.7 percent over the previous month.

Amanda Jones Hoyle covers commercial and residential real estate for the Triangle Business Journal.

Preston Development Co. holding ‘lot draw’ for new Cary Luxury Community

Eight of the Triangle’s biggest custom home builder groups were invited to a “lot draw” event at Preston’s Cary office.

Competition for the best new home sites in the Triangle is heating up again.

Preston Development Co. of Cary, is getting ready to break ground on a much smaller project in Cary, a 73-lot neighborhood called Sedgefield.

And in preparation for Sedgefield’s start, Preston invited the owners of eight of the Triangle’s biggest custom home builder groups to a “lot draw” event at Preston’s Cary office.

In a lot draw, the builders put their names in a hat, and the first name randomly drawn gets to choose which lot within the community he wants to build on first, obviously taking the best lot locations first. The second name drawn gets second choice, and so on.

Homesites in Sedgefield, a community that will be built on about 30 acres near the intersection of Morrisville Parkway and N.C. 55 and connecting to Wackena Road, will be a quarter-acre to one-third acre each. Homes will be priced from the $600,000s.

Builders selected for Sedgefield include Rick Barrett of CityScape Builders of Raleigh; Alan Hill and Justin Patsey of Gray Line Builders of Cary; Jimmy Raley of Pegram Residential of Cary; Terry Poythress and Steve Poythress of Poythress Homes of Cary; Wayne Holt of Reward Builders of Holly Springs; Rudy Upton of Upton & Co. of Apex; Randy Walker and Wes Walker of Walker Design Build of Cary; and Kyle Ward and Stephen Ward of Wardson Construction of Cary.

Amanda Jones Hoyle covers commercial and residential real estate for Triangle Business Journal.

Wake Forest luxury neighborhood to begin construction

Heritage, a golf community, in Wake Forest, NC is beginning sales on it’s final lots.
All good things must eventually come to an end, and after more than 13 years of near-constant new home construction at the 2,500-acre Heritage community in Wake Forest, developer Andy Ammons is getting ready to sell his last home lots.

Ammons Development has announced it will begin public pre-sales of the 61 private, wooded lots at the Heritage Enclave neighborhood, the final neighborhood out of 38 planned for Heritage.

Construction by the Heritage Custom Builder Team is scheduled to begin this spring, and all of the homes at Heritage Enclave are expected to be priced at more than $500,000.

“Releasing lots in the Enclave is an important day for our team,” says Andy Ammons, president of Ammons Development Group. “The neighborhood will consist mainly of cul-de-sacs with some of the most private, wooded and peaceful lots available in the community. It’s a price point and product offering that will nicely round out the landscape of our current new home options. ”

Within its 37 existing neighborhoods, Ammons Development Group has sold about 2,300 lots to select home builder groups and currently has fewer than 300 lots left to build. Home prices in Heritage have ranged from the $160,000s to the $600,000s.

Heritage also has its own golf course, three public schools, a private school and charter school, and multiple retail and office building facilities.

To read more about Andy Ammons and Heritage, here’s a link to our Q&A session with him last year

Wake County new home permits rise 14% in January compared to previous yea

Nationally, housing starts in January fell 16 percent

The January cold weather didn’t seem to slow much the pace of new home construction in the Triangle, based on the number of building permits issued in Wake County throughout the month.

Wake County and its municipalities issued 488 new residential permits in January, according to a county report, which was down from a pace of 516 permits per month in 2013 but up 14 percent compared to the same month the year prior.

The number of building permits issued for new housing, a harbinger of future building activity, was nearly double in Apex, Garner and in unincorporated areas of the county, but permits were down in Wake Forest, Rolesville and Morrisville compared to the year prior.
On a dollar level, the value of the new homes permitted increased 13 percent to $104.8 million in January.

For year-end 2013, Wake County building permits increased 28 percent in the new residential category and declined 17 percent in the new commercial building category. Building permit values grew 34 percent to $1.3 billion of new residential construction and increased 5 percent to $621 million in new commercial construction in 2013.

Nationally, housing starts in January fell 16 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 880,000 units in January, according to the figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Cold weather clearly put a chill on new home construction last month and this is also reflected in our latest builder confidence survey,” stated Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a builder from Wilmington, Del., in a news release following the HUD report. “Further, builders continue to face other obstacles, including rising materials prices and a lack of buildable lots and labor.”

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe noted also, however, that single-family permits have held relatively steady the last few months. “The less-weather-sensitive permits data suggests that our forecast for solid growth in single-family housing production in 2014 remains on track, as pent-up housing demand is unleashed.

Amanda Jones Hoyle covers commercial and residential real estate for Triangle Business Journal.

Wake County new home permits rise 14% in January compared to previous year

Nationally, housing starts in January fell 16 percent

The January cold weather didn’t seem to slow much the pace of new home construction in the Triangle, based on the number of building permits issued in Wake County throughout the month.

Wake County and its municipalities issued 488 new residential permits in January, according to a county report, which was down from a pace of 516 permits per month in 2013 but up 14 percent compared to the same month the year prior.

The number of building permits issued for new housing, a harbinger of future building activity, was nearly double in Apex, Garner and in unincorporated areas of the county, but permits were down in Wake Forest, Rolesville and Morrisville compared to the year prior.

On a dollar level, the value of the new homes permitted increased 13 percent to $104.8 million in January.

For year-end 2013, Wake County building permits increased 28 percent in the new residential category and declined 17 percent in the new commercial building category. Building permit values grew 34 percent to $1.3 billion of new residential construction and increased 5 percent to $621 million in new commercial construction in 2013.

Nationally, housing starts in January fell 16 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 880,000 units in January, according to the figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Cold weather clearly put a chill on new home construction last month and this is also reflected in our latest builder confidence survey,” stated Kevin Kelly, chairman of theNational Association of Home Builders and a builder from Wilmington, Del., in a news release following the HUD report. “Further, builders continue to face other obstacles, including rising materials prices and a lack of buildable lots and labor.”

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe noted also, however, that single-family permits have held relatively steady the last few months. “The less-weather-sensitive permits data suggests that our forecast for solid growth in single-family housing production in 2014 remains on track, as pent-up housing demand is unleashed.

Amanda Jones Hoyle covers commercial and residential real estate for Triangle Business Journal.

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