North Texas home starts boom as builders struggle to meet buyer demand

North Texas builders scrambling to meet a flood of buyers have boosted home starts to the highest level in more than a decade.



a pile of dirt in front of a building: D-FW home starts are up by more than a third from last year.


© Ron Baselice/Staff Photographer/The Dallas Morning News/TNS
D-FW home starts are up by more than a third from last year.

Dallas-Fort Worth single-family home starts soared by more than 34% in the third quarter from a year earlier, rising in the face of the pandemic and recession. Builders started almost 13,000 local houses during the just-completed quarter, according to just-released data from Residential Strategies Inc.

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“Back when the pandemic hit, we were bracing for a pretty tough summer with all the job loss,” said Ted Wilson, principal for the Dallas-based housing consultant. “But everything opened up in May with strong sales and it has continued onward.

“It’s pretty amazing considering the backdrop of COVID.”

Wilson said the third-quarter D-FW home starts were the strongest since

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Why experts say the pandemic-led virtual-fitness boom is here to stay

  • Much like how Netflix and Amazon disrupted the way Americans watch television and shop, experts say the on-demand fitness boom is ushering in the next wave of digitization in our lives. 
  • While the pandemic was integral to the rise of digital fitness, Matthew Schopfer, the head of research at Infusive, said it ultimately accelerated a push toward digital fitness that had long been in the works.
  • “The virtual component was already a big deal for us as a brand,” Retro Fitness Chief Marketing Officer Victor Bao told Business Insider. “And then as the pandemic shut down every single business in the world, we made a big thrust into virtual.”
  • We talked to leaders in the fitness industry and analysts about why they think virtual fitness is here to stay, even when the pandemic subsides.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The pandemic has drastically changed the way Americans exercise,

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U.K. Home-Price Gauge at 18-Year High Amid Post-Lockdown Boom

(Bloomberg) — A closely watched gauge of U.K. house-price growth surged to the highest in almost two decades last month amid a post-lockdown property boom.



a tall building in a city: Residential houses stand in Frome, U.K., on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. U.K. house prices rose at their strongest annual pace since 2016 last month as Britons’ changing work patterns and a tax reduction on purchases fanned a resurgence.


© Bloomberg
Residential houses stand in Frome, U.K., on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. U.K. house prices rose at their strongest annual pace since 2016 last month as Britons’ changing work patterns and a tax reduction on purchases fanned a resurgence.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ measure of price movements over the past three months climbed to the highest since 2002 in September. New listings, inquiries and agreed sales all posted gains.

However, its survey found real estate agents expect a bleaker picture in the longer term. The recent winding down of the government’s furlough program is widely anticipated to push unemployment up, and the end of a temporary cut in tax on home purchases may weigh heavily on activity.

“There is increasing concern that

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The Pandemic DIY Boom – The Atlantic

But in April, she realized that she had the opposite problem: Orders had started pouring in. Schauffler told me the company’s sales are up 400 percent over last year, and her best sellers—sheets of peel-and-stick white subway “tiles” and metallic mosaics—had completely sold out twice already. “Everyone was at home, they had time, they looked at their environment, and they went online,” she said. They started watching tutorials and ordering supplies.

Home Depot and Lowe’s registered monster sales increases not long after the pandemic began, both on the internet and in their brick-and-mortar stores—which Home Depot lobbied local governments to label essential businesses. That’s in spite of interruptions in residential construction and professional remodeling in many areas of the country.

At Apartment Therapy, a website about home improvement and design, editor in chief Laura Schocker viewed the country’s pandemic anxieties through the prism of her readership, which is 60 percent

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Saudi Tax Relief Unleashed for Home Buyers to Keep Boom Rolling

(Bloomberg) —

Saudi Arabia added new incentives to keep its mortgage boom going by scrapping a 15% value-added tax on property sales and offering other relief for home buyers amid a push by the Arab world’s largest economy to expand residential ownership.

Property transactions will instead be subject to a new 5% real estate sales tax, according to state-run news agency SPA. The government will also shoulder the cost of taxes for first-time home buyers of properties worth up to 1 million riyals ($267,000), according to a royal order published on Friday.

The threshold for the tax exemption was increased from 850,000 riyals previously for citizens buying their first homes.



chart, bar chart: Mortgage Boost


© Bloomberg
Mortgage Boost

Saudi Arabia’s mortgage market has emerged as a bright spot at a time the economy is reeling from the global pandemic and lower oil prices, with citizen unemployment hitting its highest level on record in the

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DIY Boom Continues to Drive Demand for Home Improvement Stores

Home improvement stores are on track to permanently land in the essential services or daily needs category, which retail investors have focused on for years. This year, home improvement activity has increased dramatically, and 40% of consumers have indicated that they plan to continue home improvement projects beyond the recession, according to research from the NPD Group. The activity has driven home improvement store sales up 11% this year.

During the pandemic, home improvement stores have become the second fastest growing retail segment in both brick-and-mortar and online sales. In lawn and garden, tools, paint, kitchen and bath and hardware segments, each saw a double-digit increase in both online and in-store purchases. The average shopping trip also increased 10% compared to the average trip in 2019.

Home Depot Versus Lowe’s

Placer.ai, which also looked closely at shopping trends in the major home improvement brands, found that Lowe’s saw an early

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11 virtual fitness companies vying to compete with Peloton’s winning membership model and cash in on the at-home exercise boom

  • On-demand and virtual fitness has never been more popular, as the pandemic drastically changes the way Americans stay fit. 
  • While Peloton continues to dominate the at-home fitness market, several digital fitness programs — both new and existing — are looking to cash in on the on-demand exercise boom. 
  • We took a closer look at 11 of the most popular virtual fitness membership programs. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

 

Gone are the days of traditional gym memberships, as Americans enter the era of the virtual, at-home fitness movement buoyed by the pandemic.

On-demand fitness platforms have never been so popular, nor so ubiquitous. Though digital fitness has been on the rise in recent years, the coronavirus outbreak has put fledgling virtual companies on the map while prompting the rise of a slew of new platforms designed to help Americans stay fit while cooped up at home. 

These programs vary

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It’s boom time for discount stores in the land of luxury

In a country known for its love of the lavish and luxurious, discount stores are making a surprising impact on the UAE’s retail sector, with a spike in consumer spending during the past few months.

As the region has been rocked by salary cuts and job losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, insights from credit card company Visa reveal that, in non-food categories, discount stores, home improvement stores and pharmacies are the three categories with the largest growth in sales since lockdown measures were introduced.

At the same time, higher ticket value categories, such as apparel, accessories, electronics and department stores, saw double-digit drops in spending, according to Visa’s data.

This change in consumer spending habits can be partially attributed to the economic slowdown brought on by Covid-19, the company said, adding that the trends have been echoed in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

“We are seeing that the

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Gloom before boom for home prices

“Yet there will be locations where distress selling could be more significant and the spectre of negative equity weighs heavily on households. Given Australia’s high household debt and lower population growth, house prices will struggle over the coming years.”

While Macquarie senior economist Justin Fabo expects national house prices to fall by up to 5 per cent, he added the pace of decline could be ebbing in Sydney and prices are starting to lift in several capital cities and in regional areas.

According to CoreLogic, home values rose in Hobart, Darwin and Canberra in August. Prices also rose in regional New South Wales.

“The true test of resilience will be next year when some of the fiscal support tapers and support from lenders is wound back,” Mr Fabo said.

“We see a good chance of very modest dwelling price growth next year, supported by some improvement in the economy but,

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As Home Sales Reach Highest Level Since 2006, Luxury Sales Boom

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The housing market continued to boom in August as existing home sales reached a pace not seen in more than a decade, fueled in part by demand from high-end buyers.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of existing home sales reached 6 million for the first time since December 2006, the National Association of Realtors, or NAR, said Tuesday morning.

The housing market is demonstrating a “super V-shaped” recovery as home sale activity outperforms pre-pandemic levels, NAR chief economist
Lawrence Yun
said on a Tuesday call with reporters. Existing home sales rose 2.4% from July and 10.5% year-over-year, the trade group reported. Among single-family homes, those that sold for $1 million or more rose 44% compared with last year, more than any other price point.

“Right now, it is a booming market on the upper-end,” Yun said, citing a trend toward homes with more room that

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