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New home sales: 'Really good news'

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Sales of newly constructed single-family homes spiked 11% in June to an annualized rate of 384,000 homes, according to a report released Monday.

The gain over May was much greater than expected. A consensus of housing industry analysts had forecast seasonally adjusted sales of 352,000, according to Breifing.com.

However, sales are still 21% below the levels of a year ago, when new homes sold in June at an annualized rate of 488,000, according to the report released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Four years ago, during the height of the housing boom, the sales rate for June was 1,374,000, nearly three-and-a-half times higher than last month.

Still, the report was very positive, according to Peter Morici, an economics professor at the University of Maryland who had forecast June sales to be at the 350,000 level. "That is really good news. Considering what's going on in existing home sales, with all the foreclosure activity sending down home prices, for new homes to jump like that is a good indicator that the economy is bottoming out."
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Vacation Home Blog and News

March 21, 2009

Modular Vacation Homes

Filed under: Building a Vacation Home — Tags: , — Jim Marks @ 4:15 pm

When you’re looking for a new vacation home, there are many options. You can buy a “spec” home from a builder who’s selling one home at a time in a development. You can have one custom built. You can build your own vacation home, too.

If you’re extremely handy and you know your way around framing, carpentry, plumbing, siding, roofing, and electrical work, you could probably save yourself a bundle by building yourself. But if you have only a limited knowledge, you might want to try your hand with a modular. Of course, most modular home dealers will handle everything for you if you want, but you can save money by doing a lot of the work yourself, and being your own GM.

Cape Chalet style home
I had this modular Cape/Chalet place right on the foundation. By doing a lot of the work myself, I saved about 20% of the cost of the home. When buying a modular home, you can make out very well by adding length to it. For instance, this home comes 28′ x 36′ in its standard size. For each additional 2 feet, it cost $1,200. I added an additional 10 feet for a cost of $6,000. That’s an additional 280 square feet of living space for about $22 sq ft. Generally, the cost of building runs between $100 – $150 per square foot of living space. That additional length would normally have cost at least another $28,000.

There are many modular homes that are designed specifically for different types of vacation areas. Some are designed for mountains, others for lakes, and still others for oceanfront properties. Don’t mistake modular homes for manufactured homes (mobile homes). Modular homes have the same features as a “stick-built” or “site-built” home. In fact, many modular homes are more solid than a handcrafted home. They often have up to 1/3 more framing, and are put together more cohesively for the simple fact that they will most likely be driven over many miles of roads to reach their destination, and they have to get there intact.

Modular homes are usually built in a controlled environment, so the framing, decks, and exterior of the home aren’t exposed to rain, heat, humidity, or frigid conditions during the building process. This prevents warping and

The great thing about building with a modular is that it’s not an overwhelming task to do even from a distance. Once you’ve got the prices from local subcontractors, your building permit, and electric installation lined up, you’re ready to apply for your loan. One thing I’d warn against is trying to assemble the modular home with your own hired crew. Let the dealer handle that. I’ve known of a few people who’ve tried to go it on their own, and they ended up with a lot of problems, and no recourse.

If you’re in a hurry to get your vacation home up, check out some of the modular homes available, and determine the work you’re capable of doing yourself if you want to save money.


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