Building with Natural Gas in Multi-Family Developments

Posted on February 10, 2021 by Jorie Helms

This webinar has been postponed

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Oklahoma Home Builders Association names new officers

Posted on January 25, 2021 by Jorie Helms

The Oklahoma Home Builders Association has selected Jim Schuff, co-owner of Vesta Homes, as 2021 president.

Other officers are Brandon Jackson, of Tara Custom Homes in Tulsa, vice president-treasurer; and Ron Nance, of The Oaks in Lawton, vice president-secretary. Steve Taylor, of CenterPoint Energy, is chairman of the Associates Council.

Four people have been added to the Oklahoma Housing Hall of Fame.

Irvin “Bud” Blakley, as both a past president of the Oklahoma Home Builders Association and the Oklahoma Lumbermen’s Association, was a leader in housing for rural Oklahoma. Through his building company and lumber company in Chandler, he was involved in thousands of homes.

He was active in civics both in Davenport and Chandler. He also was active with the state associations, and the National Association of Home Builders. He was Oklahoma Builder of the Year in 1984 and was one of the state’s first Certified Professional Builders.

Leo Cravens served as the Oklahoma Home Builders Association’s executive officer from 1973 to 2004. He was also principal lobbyist for the association. He was also a past president of the Oklahoma Society of Association Executives and held the Certified Association Executive designation.

He helped shape the housing industry in regard to licensing, workers compensation reform and the association’s support of state "right-to-work" policies.

Ben Newcomer was a homebuilder and developer in the Norman area for more than 40 years. He was in the local and state associations and served was president of the state association in 1983. He most influential as a mentor to many, helping young builders and developers learn the intricacy of their profession. He also was an avid golfer and used lessons learned on the course in many of his business dealings.

Tom Wenrick is a developer, Realtor, and appraiser with 50-plus years of real estate experience, recognized as one of Tulsa’s foremost developers of residential subdivisions and commercial properties.

"It is Tom’s successful legislative advocacy where a developer’s lot inventory to be taxed at cost rather than retail until sold to a third party that distinguishes him among his peers and that has saved builders thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars over the years," the state association said, noting that Wenrick is a past president of the Tulsa and state associations and both have honored him with Builder of the Year awards.

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Lumber Prices on the Rise – Again

Posted on December 14, 2020 by Jorie Helms

After drifting lower from mid-September to mid-November, lumber prices are on the rise again. Prices peaked at an all-time high of roughly $950 per thousand board feet in September before gradually moving down to around $550 per thousand board feet last month.

However, according to Random Lengths, lumber prices are now above $650 per thousand board — up nearly 20% over the past four weeks.

Elevated lumber prices since mid-April have added thousands of dollars to the cost of new single-family homes and apartment units.

Indications are that lumber producers are reducing production heading into the slower winter building season, even as new residential construction continues to outpace seasonal norms.

However, there is some good news on the lumber front regarding tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration published an administrative review of anti-dumping duties in late November, followed by an administrative review of countervailing duties on Dec. 1.

The effect of the reviews is that duties on shipments of Canadian lumber into the United States, which currently stand at 20%, will be reduced by more than half, to roughly 9%. The tariff reductions are expected to go into effect in mid-December.

“This is a step in the right direction, as tariffs have contributed to unprecedented price volatility in the lumber market, leading to higher prices and harming housing affordability for American families,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke. “The United States needs to work with Canadian officials to end the tariffs and achieve a long-term, stable solution in lumber trade that provides for a consistent and fairly priced lumber supply.”

NAHB continues to work on all fronts to find solutions that will ensure a lasting and stable supply of lumber for the home building industry at a competitive price.

For more information on the tariff reduction, contact Felicia Watson at 800-368-5242 x8229 or David Logan at x8448.

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Don’t Miss Registration Discounts and Exciting New Opportunities in IBSx Virtual Experience

Posted on December 8, 2020 by Jorie Helms

IBSxRegistration is open for IBSx, the new International Builders’ Show® virtual experience from NAHB. The in-person event was transitioned to a virtual show due to health and safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

This online alternative to IBS, the most comprehensive business-building event in residential construction, will showcase the most innovative new products, offer live and semi-live interactive education sessions with on-demand recordings, feature creative networking opportunities such as live chat and one-on-one meeting requests, and much more. Registrants can participate in all of the IBSx offerings, Feb. 9-12, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. ET daily.

“IBS has always been the premier show of the industry, and this year is no exception. While this year’s show is a different format than our attendees are used to, we think they will really be impressed with the new offerings and top-notch industry access they have come to expect,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke. “NAHB is excited about the new IBSx virtual experience where participants can log in and have access to innovative product demos, networking opportunities and education sessions — all available from home or the jobsite, on-demand and when they want the information.”

The week will kick off with a special keynote address from well-known television host Mike Rowe. Participants will also be able to stay on top of the latest industry trends and exciting new product launches and demos through product areas such as the Home Tech Zone and Start-up Zone. Networking opportunities and one-on-one live meetings with top industry suppliers and service providers will also be part of the week.

Participants who register with an All Access pass can expand their skills and learn about a variety of cutting-edge topics offered in the more than 100 exclusive education sessions featuring top industry speakers. Another big draw of the week is the unveiling of NAHB’s official show homes, The New American Home® and The New American Remodel®, through a series of virtual tours and presentations. The homes are designed to showcase innovative building technologies, emerging design trends and the latest building products.

IBSx is not open to the public. Industry professionals should register at Expo passes for the virtual event are free for NAHB members, and $50 for non-members. Early-bird pricing — available through Jan. 8 — for an All Access: Education + Expo pass is $199 for NAHB members and $299 for non-members.

Further details on the virtual offerings will be forthcoming. For more information on IBSx or the International Builders’ Show, visit

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3 Design Trends to ‘Fall’ in Love With

Posted on November 30, 2020 by Jorie Helms

Trends in design are inevitable. Some stay for a while, and others just last for a season or two. During the fall season, the trend toward design that elicits feelings of warmth and comfort is prevalent. And with the unwelcome addition of COVID-19 to our daily lives, there has been a trend to create multifunctional spaces that foster feelings of well-being. Merchandisers share how you can incorporate these trending design details into your projects and create positive vibes with prospective buyers.


As home buyers are looking more and more to their homes as a sanctuary, there is a trend to design with more natural and organic materials. Biophilic design and bringing in greenery with art, wall coverings, or plants into the design continues to be an important trend. And it makes sense when you consider the proven power of nature and natural elements in design. Organic, natural materials incorporated into design can reduce stress, blood pressure and anxiety, as well as enhance a sense of wellbeing.


Creating a cozy, lush environment that promotes relaxing at home is something buyers will be looking for. Textural throws, layered area rugs, and chunky, oversized knit pillows are a great way to meet this expectation. Another fabric that can instantly give a cozy feel is velvet. Very few things say “cozy and safe at home” like velvet upholstered furniture.


We have discussed at length the importance of bringing the outdoors in, and to no one’s surprise, this will continue to be a trend this fall. As more buyers are spending more time in their homes, they want to know they have options for work and entertainment. They need to see that their living area is not limited to the four walls of the house. Bringing the outdoors in either literally by walls that fully retract or visually by floor to ceiling windows continues to be an important trend.

Fall traditionally spurs the trend for designs that promote warmth and comfort. This year is no different. In fact, we would say it is even more so with COVID as part our world (for now). Designing spaces that foster feelings of well-being is most definitely on trend.

This post originally appeared on Best in American Living. Post courtesy of Sue Ridgeway, Director of Marketing at Lita Dirks & Co., an interior design and merchandising firm based in Greenwood Village, Colo.

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Suburban Housing: Increased Trend or Permanent Shift?

Posted on November 16, 2020 by Jorie Helms

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, certain patterns and trends have begun to emerge in the housing industry — in particular, higher demand for housing in lower-density areas. How much of these trends, though, are actually a change in demand or behavior, or just a continuation of existing trends that may have been accelerated through COVID?

“When we think about the conversation around suburban and urban development, it’s really thinking about the extent the trends are on the curve, or if this is really a shift,” moderator Richard Gollis observed during NAHB’s recent The Future of Urban and Suburban Housing in the Wake of COVID-19 webinar. Gollis was join by panelists from NAHB, CoStar, Zillow and Toll Brothers Apartment Living, who presented information from various segments of the industry to highlight growing trends.

According to NAHB Chief Economist Dr. Robert Dietz, increased construction activity in lower-density markets was already occurring as part of the housing affordability crisis, with the COVID-related shift to telecommuting accelerating the trend as people have more flexibility to live outside of large metro areas. Supply can respond better in lower-density areas as well because of the lower cost to build, and may affect the size and design of single-family homes and types of multifamily projects being built in these areas as well.

The same can be said for demand for multifamily rentals, according to John Affleck, vice president of market analytics at CoStar. Supply and demand have geared toward the suburban markets — a trend already in progress pre-COVID — with suburban multifamily products comprising all the rental demand in the second quarter of 2020.

This has impacted rents, as historically expensive markets such as San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Boston have seen double-digit decreases in asking rents since their March peak. Meanwhile, smaller suburbs and cities such as Inland Empire, Calif. (a bedroom community of Los Angeles), Norfolk and Richmond, Va., and Memphis, Tenn., have seen rents increase between 3.6% to 5.3%.

Not every suburb is the same, though, noted Charles Elliott, president of Toll Brothers Apartment Living — both in terms of performance as well as mindset.

“The meaning of suburbs is very relative to people,” he stated, providing Toll Brothers’ success in the urban core of New Jersey — which can be considered a suburb of New York City — as an example.

Elliott predicts the urban and walkable suburban markets will come back strong because of rising interest among Gen Z, and also noted increased interest in second homes as a result of the increased flexibility of working from home.

Gen Z and millennials are key drivers in the real estate market, observed Svenja Gudell, chief economist for Zillow Group, as many millennials are reaching or have reached 34 — the median age of first-time home buyers. Those with the means to buy are facing an increasingly competitive market, however; although interested home buyers have been active, sellers have been apprehensive to put their properties on the market, leading to tight inventory and quick sales. Low interest rates are helping buyers, she added, but they aren’t going to make up for the extremely high prices.

Other trends to watch include the size of single-family homes, which had been on a decline but is likely to increase as people look to expand their available space. Flexible design will play a key role in that as well. Higher unemployment rates among younger age groups is also likely to have a lasting impact on the rental market, with an increased number of young adults moving back in with their parents as a result.

A replay of the webinar is available at, and is free for members of the Multifamily Council and Housing Credit Group.

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