Prefabricated housing in the wild
We are seeing modular homes being dropped in place in cities. It is no longer the very thought of science fiction or high-velocity movies where anything goes on a shipping container boat. You know the one I’m talking about, where compartmentalized components of a container are being shifted and relayed from one end of the boat to the other and in the “fun time” of the movie, the cool kids surf or skydive or do other dare-devil things. No, modular homes are not like that.
They are something else; this is rel life. People want to live in smaller, more efficient spaces, made of less materials, and spaces that, yes, can be picked up by robot arms (cranes) and lifted into their neat, predetermined space to fit perfectly, and harmoniously where they need to be. Prefabricated housing is not a new concept, it has just gotten more sophisticated, and are not only the new wave, but they are an old wave re-imagined and the wave of the future.
The Mountain Desert catches some Container Pipeline
Determined to create an amazing and artistic aesthetic that had minimal impact on the environment in the Andes, architect Sebastián Irarrázaval Delpiano created a beautiful home he named Casa Oruga that is the new wave for those who haven’t seen shipping container construction so beautiful. Made from 5 x 40 standard shipping containers, 6 x 20 standard shipping containers and 1 x 40 open top shipping container, steel plates, concrete retaining walls, and gypsum board, and tymber wood, this home rests on a hillside on the foothills of the Andes and from a distance, it blends right on into the scenery.
New York gets the Church of the Open Sky in the Big City
Even New York has caught the ride. Recently, FastCo caught on to the awesome design over at The Stack, involving a New York design project by Gluck+Architects.
This design is taking fifty-six shipping container-like boxes, stacking them, and creating an aesthetically pleasing new residential landscape that will offer moderate income homes to New Yorkers. This project is going to take about ten months – six months less time to complete than the average “traditionally built project.”
That being said, potential owners or tenants will be able to move in more quickly, thereby offsetting costs much sooner than a traditionally built project, which takes longer to start recouping costs! Medina offers up that it will also enable the architects and contractors to make on-site decisions about construction instead of having to make all construction related decisions up-front, which can, from my own personal experience end up being a financial nightmare when cost-estimations are made incorrectly from the outset of a project. You obviously want to have a firm grasp of your project from the get-go, but the modular style project will enable contractors to make on-site decisions with greater ease.
Classic Prefab in the DC Metro Area
The DC Metro area has been a part of the pre-fab construction boom with the One Nest Project and its counter parts. Whether you call it pre-fab or modular or even panel-built, DC is seeing the construction on homes such as GreenSpur’s One Nest which flipped traditionally built homes on their heads and rolled them in the undertow. Play catch-up, will you, already? GreenSpurs’ pre-fabricated SIPS panel built home is one of many to start bespeckling the Northern Virginia and greater District of Columbia Metropolitan area with homes that can be built in a lean time frame with high-end materials and conceivably at a fraction of the cost, depending on your finish-out budget.
The Old School of Pre-Fab. It isn’t the New Wave, the Old Way – perfect.
Epoch Homes out of New Hampshire is a company which has been around since 1983, and is increasingly rising in popularity and demand now warrants a wait list and lead times for their pre-fabricated custom homes which evoke a more traditional feel while incorporating the sustainability practices that give their buyer the piece of mind that their home will be built to a higher standard. This shows staying power. Right? Probably.
The Alchemy Hour of Pre-Fab Houses
Why wouldn’t you want to build a modular home, or a pre-fabricated home? Maybe because of the stigma of the double-wide or the trailer? Well, pre-fabricated doesn’t necessarily have those connotations. Let’s shake those ideas from our heads, shall we?
There are higher returns on your build side when you can get something constructed more quickly that was built in a climate controlled environment and then shipped to you, or was shipped to you as a complete unit. Want a quick turn around in an instant-gratification society? Yes, please. Want the possibility for a healthier indoor air quality? Ok, sign me up. Some container built homes may literally be “square” (or at least rectangular), but they have a lot to offer us while we shoot through this Bonsai Pipeline we call living life.
Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home
When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?
Looking at the bigger picture
(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).
That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).
They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.
“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”
Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?
With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.
The average home age is higher than ever
(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.
With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Prices of new homes on the rise
Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.
Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?
The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.
Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes
(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.
Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.
So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.
1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues
It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.
Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.
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