May 16, 2020

American Home-building hits Eight-month High in July

Residential construction
US Construction
Residential construction
Admin
2 min
US home construction down 9.3 percent in June
US residential construction rebounded in July, growing 15.7 percent, the fastest pace in eight months and offering hope of regained momentum in the sect...

US residential construction rebounded in July, growing 15.7 percent, the fastest pace in eight months and offering hope of regained momentum in the sector after two months of declines.

The Commerce Department announced that construction hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million homes, the fastest pace since November, following declines of four percent in June (945,000) and 7.4 percent in May.

Applications for building permits, considered a good sign of future activity, also advanced 8.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.05 million, after declines of 3.1 percent in June and 5.1 percent in May.

The July rebound reflected strength in single-family home construction- up 8.3 percent- and apartment construction, which rose 33 percent.

July’s strong performance was led by a 44 percent rise in construction starts in the Northeast. Housing construction was up 29 percent in the South, recovering from a fall of 26.8 percent the previous month which has been attributed to heavy rain in the region. Sales rose 18.6 percent in the West but fell 24.8 percent in the Midwest.

Economists were surprised by July’s performance and June was revised significantly higher: from a 9.3 percent decline to just a 3.9 percent drop.

Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist at BMO Capital Markets, said solid job growth and a recent decline in mortgage rates had helped boost construction, however added that weak wage growth and tight lending standards were still depressing activity, particularly among first-time buyers.

Americans, unable to afford to buy new homes, are renting more, showing that the country’s economy continues to struggle as it emerges from the financial crisis. Economists estimate that in a normally-functioning economy, the US would be building about 1.7 million new homes a year.

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Jun 21, 2021

Research reveals 164% rise in searches for loft conversions

Insurance4Less
construction
MarketResearch
LoftConversions
3 min
Market research conducted by the building supply specialist, Insulation4Less, reveals a rise in the number of online searches for loft conversions

Market research conducted by building supply specialist Insulation4Less has revealed that searches for ‘Loft Conversions’ rose by a staggering 164% between May and June of this year, while searches for ‘Loft Conversion Ideas’ jumped by 186% as people spend more time on home renovations this summer. 

The company also found that the most popular use for a loft conversion is for an additional bedroom, while an extra bathroom was the second-highest search term. Walk-in wardrobes came in third, beating out a home office in fourth while converting a loft into a home cinema round off the top five. 

According to a recent study, a loft conversion can add roughly 20% to the value of a property. With the average UK house price standing at £267,000 in January 2021, this represents an average increase in value of more than £53,400.  

Johnpaul Manning, Managing Director of Insulation4Less, said: “If the last year has taught us anything, it's that having space is essential to our mental health and wellbeing, so it's no surprise that people are taking the time to focus on home improvements to help them make the most of their home.

As one of the most under-utilised areas in any property, loft conversions represent a great opportunity to maximise the use of space that not only improves quality of life but also has the capacity to add value to the home”, he said. 

Manning added that it's important to remember that a loft conversion isn't just your average DIY project, and should never be done on the spur of the moment. “A significant amount of planning needs to happen to make it a reality, and an understanding that life can be disrupted while the build is taking place. 

“While it's definitely a worthwhile project, I'd recommend that anyone considering a loft conversion should do some in-depth research to really understand what's needed to make it a reality”, Manning said. 

Is Your Loft Suitable For a Conversion?

While loft conversions do look amazing and add an extra element to a property, not all homes may be suitable. Insulation4Less says that this is due to a variety of factors.

“It's important to make sure that your roof is structurally sound enough to handle a conversion”, the company said.  Although there are different types of roof structures, they mostly fall into two distinct categories: a traditional roof, and a trussed roof. 

A traditional roof: was typically found in pre-1960s houses. Rafters on traditional roofs run along its edges, leaving a good amount of free space. However, they might still need new or extra support. Trussed roofs, on the other hand, have ‘W’ shaped rafters that support the roof and the floor structure. Even though truss roofs may appear to be harder to convert, it’s not impossible; the ‘W’ shaped rafters can be replaced with an ‘A’ shape structure which creates a hollow space. While this can add additional costs, it could be a worthy investment, so take this into consideration during your planning process.

“Another thing to consider is the roof's height and pitch, and how that will impact the amount of space you’ll have. You’ll need a minimum height of 2.2m to ensure proper clearance. While you might be happy to settle for something a little shorter on paper, make sure your happy with the height you have and the effect it could have on the enjoyment of the space”, Insulation4Less advises. 

The company recommends doing research before going to an architect or contractor. “Ultimately, look for other conversions on your street or in similar properties, and if you feel comfortable, ask if you can have a look and discuss how their project came together - you’ll find a wealth of information that could really help your own project in the future”. 

Information credit: Insulation4Less

 

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