Homes Get Smaller, More Energy Efficient

What features do buyers want today and in the future? The answer: smaller, more energy efficient homes.

The average size of a new single-family home in 2010 was 2,377 square feet, down from 2,438 square feet in 2009 and down from the peak of 2,520 square feet in 2007 and 2008, according to U.S. Census Bureau data presented by Rose Quint, assistant vice president of survey research for NAHB at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando Thursday, Jan. 13.

And the trend will only continue, Quint said, with the 2015 new home size currently projected at 2,150 square feet with fewer bathrooms and smaller garages.

It’s hard to say whether home sizes will decline to 1970 levels of 1,500 square feet. But Quint says she believes smaller sizes are here to stay based on demographics.

The U.S. population was 310 million as of April 2010. That’s expected to rise to 322 million in 2015 and continue to climb up to 422 million by 2050. The population is also getting older and more diverse. In 2010, 25 percent were over the age of 55, which is expected to grow to 31 percent by 3050.

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Real Estate Company Trulia.com to Open Offices in Centennial

Real-estate website Trulia.com is opening an office next month in Centennial, where it plans to employ 100 people.

Trulia is leasing 16,000 square feet of space in Waterpark at Briarwood II, 10771 E. Easter Ave. in Centennial, company spokesman Ken Shuman said. The office will open next month with 25 employees and quickly ramp up to 100 workers. There will be positions in customer service, sales and human resources.

The office will be the third for Trulia. In addition to its San Francisco headquarters, the company has an office in New York. The company describes itself as being focused on giving buyers, sellers and renters tools to help them find the right home. The site includes property listings and market information.

“We have 200 people now,” Shuman said. “Hiring another 100 is a pretty big expansion for us.”

After looking at 25 markets coast-to-coast, Trulia had narrowed the field to Eugene, Ore.; Las Vegas; and Canton, Ohio. The Denver area wasn’t on the company’s radar until its real-estate consultant, Jeff Pappas of Dallas-based Aldredge Partners Real Estate Group, visited Denver for a site-selectors conference.

“When I was there, I felt like it was a market they should at least consider and tour and visit,” Pappas said.

Pappas and Trulia worked closely with the Southeast Business Partnership to find a suitable location.

“They came to Denver three times before they made their decision,” said Lynn Myers, the organization’s director of economic development. “They met with Arapahoe Community College, University of Colorado at Denver and workforce-center representatives. They’ve had a really nice introduction to the overall community.”

The company has hired Don Fitzmartin of Fitzmartin Consulting Co. to handle project management for the build-out of the space.

Metro Denver wasn’t the least expensive market Trulia considered — and no incentives were offered — but the company liked the well-educated workforce and ease of doing business here, Pappas said.

Trulia also found the region to be compatible with its corporate culture.

“Denver is work hard, play hard,” Pappas said

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Housing Starts Predicted to Hit 3-Year High

Housing starts will probably reach a three-year high of 739,000 in 2001, creating about 500,000 jobs and helping trim the unemployment rate to 9.1 percent, said David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, in an interview with Bloomberg.

“This is an ugly economic cycle,” he said. “We need job creation to get people comfortable with buying a home. If they do that, we’ll create jobs that will reinforce that home buying and fuel additional job growth.”

Job growth in other sectors, as well as population growth, will also likely have an effect. The number of U.S. households will rise 0.7 percent to 118.7 million in 2011, the largest annual gain since the beginning of the housing crisis in 2007. Charles Lieberman,

The CEO of luxury home builder Toll Brothers is optimistic. “The recovery is here to stay,” said Douglas Yearley. “I think 2011 will be an improving year, but I think 2012 will be a big year for us.”

Source: http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2010122901