The BuildZoom blog

The BuildZoom & Urban Economics Lab Index: First Quarter 2015

* Remodeling of existing homes is an indicator of economic health whose importance is on par with new home construction, and which better captures consumer confidence. * Remodeling of existing homes has fully recovered from the housing bust, and is 3.4% above its 2005 level. In contrast, new home construction is recovering only gradually and remains 60.7% below its 2005 level. * Locally, remodeling has surpassed 2005 levels in some metro areas, but not in others. The remodeling of existing homes is an indicator of economic health whose importance is on par with new home construction. The size of the remodeling market [...]

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Top 25 California contractors (2014)

We compiled a list of the most active California contractors, by looking at those contractors that obtained the most permits from California building departments in 2014.   This list considers all contractors regardless of classification type, including home builders, HVAC specialists, plumbers, general contractors, etc. The total number of building permits captures different types of projects. Sometimes, permits are missing project valuation, we controlled for this by calculating average valuation as a function of total project valuation and the permits that did include project valuation. After considering the top 25, a few things stand out: Solar surge – 5 of [...]

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Top 25 California general contractors (2014)

This list considers general contractors that specialize in discretionary home improvement projects, e.g. kitchen, bath, or other room remodels/additions for both single and multifamily housing; firms that mainly focus on a narrow facet of home remodels or repairs (e.g. roofs, doors, windows, etc)  were omitted. The total number of building permits captures different types of projects. Sometimes, permits are missing project valuation, we controlled for this by calculating average valuation as a function of total project valuation and the permits that did include project valuation. The average valuation is omitted in the case that the project valuation was missing completely from the permit data.  [...]

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MLS Wars: Zillow Group… ListHub…

On April 7th, the freshly minted Zillow Group lost its single-most important source of home sale listings when ListHub terminated its agreements with both Zillow and Trulia, raising concerns that their joint coverage would be devastated. The termination of the agreements marks the latest skirmish in the war between Zillow Group and Move.com, which owns both Realtor.com and ListHub. In the highly competitive real estate space, the player with the most complete listings has an enormous advantage. If consumers discover that Zillow and Trulia fall substantially short of Realtor.com in this respect, no amount of brand loyalty will keep them [...]

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Solving the delayed AngularJS UI rendering server-side with Rails

We’ve now been writing some awesome AngularJS code at BuildZoom for nearly a year. It’s helped us release great features faster and provided for a significant ease of maintenance over the previously used “classical” jQuery. One issue that became apparent was the delay in rendering the templates and data client-side. The extra round trips for various JS libraries and the initialization of JavaScript was notably slower than server-side rendering. Yet all the pros were too strong to simply revert the use of a client-side framework. While using AngularJS, our core stack technology has remained Ruby on Rails. I’ve previously mentioned [...]

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What does it cost to build a FedEx distribution center?

Permits for a new FedEx distribution center being planned in Louisville, KY give us some insight into the costs of setting up these crucial delivery hubs. The plans call for a 303,458 square foot facility (the entire campus will be spread out on approximately 46 acres) on land purchased by an industrial development company in December 2014 for $6.9 million. Numerous FedEx distribution centers around the U.S. are this same size – for example, Memphis, TN and Oceanside, CA – so we can think of this Louisville project as “typical.” Here’s a look at the costs, from the ground up: [...]

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Explaining The Economist’s stat about new housing permits in Houston

In a recent article on Houston’s growth, The Economist wrote:  Paradoxically, perhaps the city’s biggest strength is its sprawl. Unlike most other big cities in America, Houston has no zoning code, so it is quick to respond to demand for housing and office space. Last year authorities in the Houston metropolitan area, with a population of 6.2m, issued permits to build 64,000 homes. The entire state of California, with a population of 39m, issued just 83,000.  The source of the numbers is the US Census Building Permits Survey, which estimates the number of new housing starts across the US based [...]

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Top 25 California home builders (2014)

Historically speaking, the housing market is one of the most significant indicators of the economy’s health. Growing demand for home buying is reflective of rising consumer confidence. This week we decided to take a closer look at the home builders driving residential growth in California, by listing those issued the most permits from California building departments in 2014.   This list considers home builders that focus on new residential construction, including both single and multifamily housing; firms that mainly focus on home remodels or repairs were omitted. The total number of building permits includes different types of projects (not just [...]

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