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NAHB Seeks Solutions as Lumber Prices Rise

Special Notice - Lumber prices are on the rise, and that’s not good news for home builders and their clients, but J&J is fully aware and is always thinking of their customers 1st. Randy Strauss, owner of Strauss Construction in Amherst, Ohio, heard the news from his lumberyard: Lagging domestic supply and increasing tariffs on Canadian lumber mean that Strauss is looking at prices increases this spring as high as 30% by April. That’s about when he’ll start breaking ground on a home that his client signed a contract for last week – a large custom home that includes a $60,000 lumber package. With an expected $18,000 cost increase, “there goes my profit,” he said. Negotiations on a new softwood lumber agreement between the United States and Canada ground to a halt at the end of 2016 and likely are stalled pending the results of an investigation into unfair import practices requested by the U.S. Lumber Coalition. Any further negotiations on a resolution between the two countries are expected to be on hold until confirmations of a new Secretary of Commerce and a new U.S. Trade Representative. That leaves home builders like J&J and their customers – caught in the middle and probably looking at price hikes: The Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite price jumped from $366 on Feb. 3 to $391 on Feb. 10, the greatest weekly gain since August 2003. By Feb. 17, it was up to $405. “Normally, our pricing lags a month or two behind these wholesale prices,” said Jonathan Sukonik, who builds homes in suburban Philadelphia. The lumber budget for a typical Sukonik Building Companies home is about $18,000. “If it jumps 10% or 20%, you can’t pass on the cost. You have to absorb it – and when lumber gets out of hand, it makes it more difficult to cover your costs.” Anticipating this volatility, NAHB has been working on a number of fronts to keep supplies steady and prices more reasonable. Last year, NAHB formed a coalition to encourage policies that promote free trade and a stable supply of lumber without the unpredictable price swings that raise the costs of building and make homeownership less affordable. “The voice of the home builder must be heard, because we are the drivers of the American economy,” said NAHB CEO Jerry Howard. Meanwhile, NAHB is urging domestic lumber companies to increase production and make it available for U.S. home builders. At the same time, the association leadership is in contact with lumber producers in other countries in an effort to open up new sources of supply. And the NAHB Construction Liability, Risk Management and Building Materials Committee sent Strauss a sample cost escalation clause contract addendum. It’s too late for this contract, Strauss said, but on Friday morning he sent a copy to his fellow Ohio HBA members so they can keep it in their back pockets. You can always track lumber price changes on the NAHB Construction Statistics page or reach out to a J&J representative J & J Custom Homes is your premier Custom Home Builder in the Carolinas and is ready to build you and your family your dream home. Designing and building your dream home is a great undertaking. At J & J we consider our customers to be the cornerstone of the entire building process. We appreciate your personal style and back your ideas with practical solutions and optional amenities, making your dream home a reality! We take pride in our homes and want to share with you our excitement and love for building a perfect home for you and your family.

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Reasons for Relocating to North Carolina

By Jassmin Al-Hassan Once upon a time North Carolina was just considered a random state down South; not usually considered a tourist destination, it flew under the radar for many years. However, this is certainly not the case anymore. With there being population increases of over 93,000 people between a given year, North Carolina is now one of the hottest spots to move to! You might be asking, “why?” Let us tell you! Something that many may find interesting about North Carolina is the age groups that are being drawn to the area. While some may assume that a state like North Carolina would attract older or retired individuals, this is not necessarily the case of late. With the increase in big business (Bank of America, BB&T and Google), attractions and night-life, North Carolina is attracting those of younger and middle-aged generations because of the economic appeal joined together with the lifestyle appeal. According to the US Census Bureau, the median age of NC residents is 38 years old; this statistic comes as no surprise for those familiar with North Carolina, especially the main cities like Raleigh, Charlotte. In fact, the Tar Heel State is the only state to rank among the top five on FORBES’ Best States for Business for 12 straight years, and hit the #1 spot in 2017. These cities also give you similar recreational opportunities as popular big cities like Boston or Manhattan, but without the crime, traffic or skyrocketing prices that come with such big cities (NC is even known to have commute times that is below the national average!). North Carolina has always been a popular place to retire, but now also a popular place to start off your adult life and raise a family because of the affordability, space and safe environment that is available. It has been calculated that the cost of living in North Carolina can be around 48% cheaper than living in a city like New York, Chicago or Washington, DC. Of course, this percentage can go slightly up or down depending on if you pick a more urban or more rural city within North Carolina, but the difference in comparison to many other states is still astonishing. Other advantages to relocating to NC include appealing climate and top-rated universities. North Carolina is well known for being a place to enjoy all four seasons, which is especially great for those who enjoy outdoor activities. This includes the advantage of being able to make easy trips to snowy mountains or white sand beaches since North Carolina is home to a variety of landscapes. For those with kids, North Carolina is also alluring because it is home to some of the best universities in the country, including but not limited to: Duke, Wake Forest, UNC Chapel Hill, Davidson, and many more! However, all of the appeal of North Carolina is not only being noticed by those who reside there or move there, several Carolinian cities like Matthews, Cary, Asheville and Chapel Hill have been rated as top cities to live in within the United States. Some reasons for this may include the fact that it is a flat income tax state, lower rental cost than the national average, and home to the city with the 2nd best real estate market in the country according to Zillow. Of course, one of the biggest advantages to living in North Carolina is the wonderful opportunity of becoming a homeowner. A place like North Carolina is great for those who desire more than just a beautiful home, but also the ability to have acres of property and spacious back and front yards. It really is a wonderful place to get the best “bang for your buck” with property! Whether you are looking for a simple 3 bedroom home for as little as $45,000 to a glamorous and elegant 5 bedroom 5 bathroom 7000 square foot home for $1 million, you can easily find your dream home for a great price! For that reason, J&J Custom Homes is proud to be a North Carolina established company that strives to build beautiful custom homes that fit your exact needs and desires. We know that a home is more than just a purchase of property, it’s an investment into the place where you will be raising your family. For that reason, we refuse to delivery anything less than top-notch quality homes. Let us help you get your North Carolina dream home, we know you won’t be disappointed!

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Charlotte Named 4th Hottest Housing Market in US by Zillow

Looking to move to Charlotte, NC? Well you are not alone… San Jose, Calif. came in No. 1 in Zillow’s ranking of hottest housing markets, fueled by the still-booming tech companies of Silicon Valley. Raleigh holds the No. 2 spot in Zillow’s annual prediction, with the Research Triangle powering much of the growth, based on its rising home values and rental prices, steady income growth, abundant job opportunities and low unemployment rate. And Seattle, home to, came in No. 3 in Zillow’s analysis. Charlotte, boosted by the financial sector and a fast-rising population, came in just behind Seattle. San Francisco was No. 5, behind Charlotte. Charlotte was ranked in the top 10 in another forecast for 2018, coming in at No. 7 in a prediction. Like many fast-growing cities, the housing market in Charlotte has been defined by tight inventory, rising prices and climbing rent. Charlotte’s prices are expected to keep rising faster than the national average, ticking up 4 percent. To predict the top 10 markets, Zillow calculated each metro’s home value and rent for 2018 in the 50 largest U.S. cities, recent income and population growth, unemployment rates and the number of job openings per person using Glassdoor, a job recruiting website. The list ranks San Jose in the top spot for its high number of job openings per person and increasing home value, Zillow said. “The tech industry continues to roar, attracting thousands of new residents per year to tech-dominant markets like Seattle, Denver and the Bay Area,” Terrazas said. “The higher cost of living in these areas is offset to a large degree by well-paying tech jobs.” Southern cities made up half of the top 10. Other Southern cities that made list included Nashville, Tenn., Dallas and Austin, Texas. “Growing cities in the Sun Belt, places like Raleigh, Charlotte and Nashville, offer plenty of opportunities healthcare and finance, while providing a less-expensive, but still-convenient, alternative to the larger and pricier markets in the Northeast,” said Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas, in a statement. Zillow reported that Raleigh’s income grew by 9 percent last year and predicted its median home value in 2018 would be $233,900. The unemployment rate is 3.6 percent. Here are the top 10 U.S. housing markets, as ranked by Zillow: 1. San Jose, Calif. 2. Raleigh 3. Seattle 4. Charlotte 5. San Francisco 6. Austin, Texas. 7. Denver 8. Nashville, Tenn. 9. Portland, Ore. 10. Dallas Zillow is a national database for real estate and rental properties.

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What Does Building a “Home” Mean for Millennials?

When the word “millennials” is brought up in conversation, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Maybe you picture a young adult in a nice pair of sneakers, with a smart phone in one hand and a green smoothie or Starbucks in the other hand. However, Millennials, or “generation Y” as they are also called, play a much bigger role the housing industry then the above description reveals. A millennial is roughly anyone born between the years 1981-1996, making them the young adults of the 21st century. That being the case, most within this group are between the ages of 23 and 38, making them a major population of those looking to buy a house. According to The Updater, just between 2016 and 2017, 20% of millennials moved. This means that millennials are 1/5th of the shoppers within the housing market! What is this generation of homebuyers looking for then when it comes to their housing needs? For starters, pricing is everything. This makes sense considering that many who fit within this age group have to take into consideration student loans they are paying off or also potentially lower wages as new employees to the secular world. Next comes the crucial element of location. As young adults with secular ambitions, millennials are often willing to move their lives to places that offer good jobs, meaning they are often drawn to live in outskirt suburbs that are close enough to hustle and bustle downtowns. Bonus points for places where these active young adults can WALK to those areas! According to the Census Bureau, areas in or near downtowns are most desirable. Safety, low cost of living and high quality of life are a few of the other major factors that millennials consider when picking where they want to settle down. Do these descriptions ring any bells? For those of us from the Carolina’s, it surely does! Cities like Charlotte, Raleigh and Charleston are amongst some of the most up-and-coming cities today with constant influx of single professionals as well as young families looking for a good place to plant their roots. The final elements to take into consideration are style and design. In regard to Millennial’ preferences about the homes themselves, new and upgraded living styles are preferred (no surprise there!). This means modern amenities, updated appliances, and often open floor-plans that include home-offices (for whenever they opt out of working from Panera or Chipotle). Yes, this means the days of low ceilings, carpet flooring and plastic laminate counters are mostly over! According to, “46% of millennials say they want a luxury kitchen,” since nowadays the “kitchen is the hangout center of the home and should flow into other rooms for easy entertaining,” (John White). However, this does not mean that Millennials don’t appreciate charm in their homes. If you are picturing large empty houses with everything black and white on the inside, this is not necessarily true either. Millennials want updated and energy efficient houses, but with enough coziness and charm for it to feel like a home. For all the reasons listed above throughout the article, J&J Custom Homes is the perfectly equipped home building company for anyone’s needs, especially Millennials! We offer high quality homes, with modern floorplans, new appliances, southern charm and in prime locations. Whether it’s one of our pre-existing custom homes or a new custom home you have dreamt up, let us help you plant your roots in the perfect home designed by J&J.


Updater. Millennial Housing Trends: Everything You Need to Know. September 20, 2018. Retrieved from Inc. White, J. How Millennials Are Changing the Housing Market. Retrieved from