Columbus Real Estate Professionals Call for New Housing Starts

The Columbus housing market started to show new signs of life over the past year. While the market is surging, some experts worry that new housing construction may be insufficient to meet growing demand. They are calling on lawmakers to increase housing starts to avoid a housing shortage.

Housing Sales Climb, Albeit at Slower PaceSold-Home

Housing sales in Columbus have continued rising over the past year. The Columbus Association of Realtors said that new sales decelerated in the summer, citing figures showing that the growth rate was half that witnessed in the first half of the year. While the market is growing at a slower rate, it is still gaining traction.

Since demand for housing in Columbus and adjacent community is rising, price increases are also. Median home prices in the region rose 5% in September.

“The market is hotter than previous years and both buyers and sellers have really gotten that message,” said Kathy Shiflet, president of the Columbus Association of Realtors.

Most experts expect that the market will keep growing for the foreseeable future. Price increases will likely follow, especially if the supply of new housing isn’t sufficient to serve the growing number of people relocating to Central Ohio.

Housing Starts Decrease from Previous Year

The Commerce Department recently announced that the number of new housing starts in Central Ohio decreased 16% from 2014. This contrasts with the national average, which shows that the housing starts rose 6.5% over the same time period.

Declining housing starts and rising demand could be setting the stage for a perfect storm for a housing shortage. This could lead to a couple of problems:

  • Rapidly rising prices that most consumers wouldn’t be able to afford.
  • A cooling housing market as many customers grow frustrated looking for housing in Columbus.

These problems could be avoided, but local officials must recognize the challenges. They are going to need to make creating new housing units a priority as demand continues to rise.

The data shows that housing construction across the country is starting to peter out. However, construction in other areas is still rising, even though at a slower pace than in 2014.

Fortunately, new solutions have been proposed, which could make a big difference in the months to come.   Fifteen organizations including Community Development for All People have started investing in the Housing Strategy Project, which will increase the number of housing units available to working and middle class residents. Katelin Hansen and other residents in South Columbus are pleased with the new project and confident it can solve the housing needs of many local residents.

Real estate professionals are also encouraged. They feel that creating new affordable housing will reduce pressure on the housing market to allow for sustainable growth.

Bathrooms Get a Lot of Use; You Might as Well Make it a Better Place to Be

Everyone spends a lot of time in the bathrooms of their homes. Some a lot more than others. Whether you are taking a bath, combing your hair, brushing your teeth, or relieving waste, a great deal of time is spent in this little room. Knowing this you should want to make this room as enjoyable as it can be to be in.

This is why it makes sense to do some things to change the look and feel of your bathroom. Fortunately, there are some great things that you can do to make it look a lot more enjoyable, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make these improvements.

Thorough Cleaning and Refurbish of Shower/Bath

The primary thing that will make your bathroom look bad is that the shower and/or bath looks rather dingy from the buildup of calcium carbonate, rush, limestone, or other materials. This will take the beautiful look of your shower or tub and make it look worn, maybe even unusable. Getting a really good cleaning kit or hiring someone to clean and refurbish the shower/tub can make all the difference. If you have a white shower this is an absolute must. You can get a good cleaning kit for a reasonable cost, and a crew should be able to do the work for less than $100. This is a great way to add a new look to the bathroom.

sdb1_0-1030x687New Faucet Handles

Just as limestone and rust will ruin the look of your shower, it will do the same thing to the faucets around your sink. You can clean these as well, but most people feel so much better about their sink when it has a whole new look. Go and buy some new handles and put it on the faucets. You will love this as well.

Look Into New Mirrors

Mirrors can lose some of their luster to them as well. You can clean them but they may not reflect in the same way. It is a good idea to change these and you will feel a lot better about your bathroom. If you have cleaned the tub/shower this is a great idea because it will really capture the changes that you have made. You will be pleased with the results of how your bathroom looks for sure.

Brighter Bulbs

Too often people leave dead bulbs in the lights in their bathroom, or they use really low wattage bulbs. You want your bathroom to be bright, especially if the sink, shower and toilet are white. This will really light up the room and make it look really impressive. You will love how much difference this can make.

New Shower Curtain

All bathrooms that have a shower need a new shower curtain every month or two. This helps to present a much cleaner and newer look to your bathroom, plus the smell of the new shower curtain makes the bathroom smell better. It is a great way to spruce up the restrooms in your home.

Great Ideas in Kitchen Design to Spruce up the Most Popular Room in Your Home

If you really think about it, the kitchen is the most popular room in your home. No matter what age the person is in your house, they are all going to your kitchen at some point. Even your family pets find themselves in the kitchen, and guests will frequently be there as well. This is why making some improvements to its look and feel can really make a difference in improving the overall way your home looks. A kitchen design change may be the key for you.

If you are thinking that this works for you, then you may want some good ideas that can help to change the way your kitchen looks. Here are some ideas for you.

Brass Handles

Nothing really spruces up the look of any room like brass. It has such an elegant look and feel to it that everyone likes. Yes, it is true that brass is much harder to clean and unpolished brass can really hinder the look you are looking for, but if you are willing to do a little extra work to keep it looking its best then brass handles on the doors and cabinets is a real winner.

White Is In

More kitchens are being designed with darker colors to them, but this is not the most aesthetically pleasing look that you can have. The best look is to go with white. First of all, it gives a very clean look to the whole room, which always makes people like to be in it more. Kitchens should look and feel clean since food is being made there, so white really benefits that feeling. In addition, white lights up the room more. That makes it more enjoyable to be in it, and will also make working in the kitchen easier. Plus it saves energy.

Marble Counter Tops

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While white is great for appliances, cabinets and walls, granite or marble counter tops are the way to go. They really add class as well, and make the kitchen have a whole new look. In addition, they are hard to damage, so the longevity of them is much better than what you would find with traditional countertop materials. You cannot go wrong with marble or granite, but you should be aware that they can be quite expensive.

Hardwood Floors over Tile

Most people have tile or linoleum put in as the flooring to their kitchen and this looks good. It is a quality look. However, nothing makes a room look better than hardwood floors. There is such a great look to the kitchen as a whole, because it makes it look a lot more traditional. This is just the way a kitchen should look.

If you are looking for a great kitchen design, these are some great ways to improve the look of the kitchen so that you really give it the look you want. These changes will create a great improvement and make the most popular room in your home something you can really be proud of.

Replacing Dilapidated Ohio Housing Will Aid Lower Income Residents

The Central Ohio housing market may be growing at a record pace, but there is still a lack of affordable housing options for low income families. Policymakers have discussed some of the ways that they can address these problems. One of their options is by replacing some of the abandoned houses that are falling apart around the state.

New Report Shows Need to Replace Abandoned Housing

housing-market-reportsPolicy Matters Ohio recently published a report that showed the problems with the state housing market. The report said that many foreclosed properties have fallen into disarray. These properties have been held by lenders since the foreclosure crisis took hold nearly a decade ago. They probably won’t be sold anytime soon, since they are in dire need of repair.

Policy Matters Ohio said that these properties should be replaced. Their presence could threaten prices of other properties, which could derail the state’s otherwise stellar performing housing market.

The question is what to do with the land if these buildings are torn down. Some groups recommend replacing these buildings with units that would house low income families, since there is a great need for that.

Replacing housing units would also benefit the state taxpayers. The number of residents receiving assistance for public housing has been elevated in recent years. In fact, a recent report from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Inspector General showed that nearly 400 families are receiving housing aid that they aren’t eligible for. Some of these families are generating six figure household incomes, which means that they are taking up spaces that are needed by people without the resources. Local housing officials are given discretion over enforcing these policies, but many of them have been reluctant to take action.

While some of these families are actually making high incomes, the shortage of available housing units in many parts of the state is a driving factor. The state recognizes the need to increase the supply of housing for middle and working class families, but has yet to release any substantive proposals to address the issue. The state legislature is currently discussing a new bill (HB 134) that would expedite the process of acquiring, destroying and transferring properties, but some details may still need to be ironed out.

Many policymakers will likely be swayed by the recent report and may consider trying to purchase foreclosed units to develop new affordable housing programs.


Design Build Done Right – General Guidelines & Best Practices

Design Build is a popular process for homeowners that undertaking major remodels. But how do you know that you are getting the most out of the design-build process? To help you set some expectations, the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) suggests four best practices DesignBuildwhen it comes to executing design build projects. We promise to deliver on these promises and more.

Our whole construction firm, from inception, is founded on the goal of delivering a superior remodeling experience, and delivering projects that stand the test of time.

#1 All design-build team members should be educated and trained in the design-build process, and be knowledgeable of the differences between design-build and other delivery systems.

Design-build teams should always have members that are well-educated and experienced in the process, but also must be well suited to the necessarily collaborative nature of the design-build process. In design-build, the design and construction teams work closely at each stage of the project. It’s not design then build, but rather an ongoing collaboration. Also, the best design-build teams will either have experienced tradespersons on hand or have access to tradespersons that are used to working on design-build projects.

#2 The project team should establish logistics and infrastructure to support integrated project delivery.

A project’s success is always going to depend on the collaborative abilities of the team, but communication is paramount in design-build projects. It’s recommended that design-build teams should always try to have their design and construction teams both working on location whenever possible to streamline communication so that unnecessary delays don’t occur. The process should be well-understood by all and any changes that need to be made should be expedited as soon as possible.

#3 The project team, at the outset of the project, should establish processes to facilitate timely and effective communication, collaboration, and issue resolution.

One of the best things about the design-build process is that there should be regular monitoring of the project’s progress and clear communication with the homeowners. These open lines of communication are paramount during the design-build process so that all parties involved understand where everything stands at any given point.

As a homeowner, however, it’s important to be prepared to make timely decisions when they are needed. You should have the expertise and experience of the design-build staff to help you, though, and should quickly and completely explain any issues that may impact the overall project cost or schedule as outlined in the original scope of work/contract. If you need to make a decision, it should be a very well-informed decision.

#4 The project team should focus on the design management and commissioning/turnover processes and ensure that there is alignment among the team as to how to execute these processes.

Essentially, this means that both parties, homeowner and contractor, should understand the level of involvement and effort required depending on the scope of the project. The DBIA suggests that the contractor should also dedicate sufficient resources to foster the most collaborative environment for the work. Also, per the DBIA, it is our responsibility to develop a design plan that keeps you as the homeowner engaged in the entire process. It’s our job to make sure that you get to meet regularly with key members of our design-build team to know exactly where things stand.

Both homeowner and design-builder should be in agreement on how the design and construction processes will go.  There should be a realistic plan which does everything possible to be in harmony with both parties’ schedule and other project-specific goals.

It is up to us to ensure that advances in design and any changes to the project and related documents are completely tracked. There should be a clear understanding as to when the homeowners are integrated into the decision-making process and be notified of any design changes.

Design-build teams also establish what is called a “trend system” towards the beginning of the design process. Using a trend system helps identify, track and evaluate any potential changes before they can adversely impact the project’s cost or schedule. It is also our responsibility to clearly and immediately communicate any potential issues that would be found using the trend system to the homeowners.

Using these best practices, you can be sure that your design-build project will be done right. Peace of mind and a fantastic end result are two of the greatest benefits of using such a collaborative system. After considering these points,  we hope you will choose us as your design-build partner for your next project.


Ohio Housing Price Increases Lag Rising Sales

The Ohio housing market is one of the strongest in the country. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), housing sales this spring were the highest in ten years. The market is currently one of the strongest in the country, but price increases are still lagging the national average.

Housing Demand Surges investment-propertythroughout Ohio

Stronger job growth has significantly boosted demand for housing units across Ohio. Lawrence Yun, the national economist for the NAR, said that the revitalized housing market is a symptom of a more robust economy.

“Buyers have come back in force, leading to the strongest past two months in sales since early 2007,” said Yun. “This wave of demand is being fueled by a year-plus of steady job growth and an improving economy that’s giving more households the financial wherewithal and incentive to buy.”

Other temporary factors could be driving growth as well. Yun pointed out that mortgage rates have been increasingly slightly in recent months, which may have spurred some buyers to start looking early while they can still find affordable loans. The trend could reverse if the Federal Reserve decides to raise rates further, but Yun and other experts are confident that growth will remain stable for the duration of the year.

Will Prices Increase With Demand?

Three weeks after releasing its first report, the NAR stated that housing prices in Central Ohio have risen slower than the national average. Analysts stated that median the housing price in the second quarter was $172,000, which was a 5.8% increase from the prior year. Throughout the rest of the country, housing prices increased by 8.2% over the same time interval. The median housing price is only slightly over $225,000, which is far lower than the national average. Housing prices are even fairly low in Columbus and other large Central Ohio cities.

Jill Rudler, a representative of Keller Williams Realty, said that the modest price increases were still encouraging, since they outpaced previous years. “Our gains are normally 3 or 4 percent a year, so 5 percent is huge,” she acknowledged. “We also haven’t seen the losses that other markets have seen over the years.”

Experts are still unclear about the long-term direction of housing prices. Rising demand could be a leading indicator that prices will increase in the coming months. However, it’s also possible that demand could stagnate, but Realtors remain optimistic about the long-term direction of the Ohio housing market.