Monthly Archives: January 2016

The dirty secret of Miami’s latest luxury condo boom | Chappaqua Real Estate

Feds Will Track How Much of Miami's Real-Estate Boom Is Being Fueled by Money Laundering

Photo by LostINMia’s Flickr via MNT Flickr Pool

The dirty secret of Miami’s latest luxury condo boom? Some of those sky-high penthouses are being bought by international criminals and other shady individuals to launder money. How many? Well, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network wants to find out.

Take, for instance, Spanish drug kingpin Álvaro López Tardón. He ran an international cocaine ring, and to help hide his money, he set up shell corporations to buy 14 condos in Miami. Tardón is now serving a 150-year prison sentence, but the feds suspect he might be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to funneling shady money into Miami luxury real estate.

Today the Treasury Department announced it’s targeting Miami-Dade County and Manhattan with a “geographic targeting order” to find out who is buying all of those high-end condos.

“[We are] concerned that all-cash purchases — i.e., those without bank financing — may be conducted by individuals attempting to hide their assets and identity by purchasing residential properties through limited liability companies or other opaque structures,” reads a release from the feds.

The Treasury Department will now require insurance companies to identify the names of the buyers of any all-cash real-estate transactions in Miami-Dade of more than $1 million and report them to the federal government. Those names, however, will not be released to the public.

Currently, buyers can use a network of shell companies, both offshore and domestic, to shield their identities. When buyers pay in cash, it’s even harder to track the origin of the money because no mortgages are involved.

The order will be in place from March until August, but according to the New York Times, if multiple instances of money laundering are uncovered, permanent rules will be put in place and the requirement may be extended beyond Manhattan and Miami-Dade.

Concerns that Miami’s latest real-estate bubble is being fueled, at least in part, by money laundering is nothing new. In 2013, the Nation published a report about the prevalence of the practice in Miami-Dade.

“There is a huge amount of dirty money flowing into Miami that’s disguised as investment,” Jack Blum, a Washington attorney specializing in money-laundering cases, told the Nation. “The local business community sees any threat to that as a threat to the city’s lifeblood.”

The news comes as foreign investment in Miami luxury properties is already decreasing. Curbed Miami reported earlier this week that “stock market volatility in China, low oil prices, currency devaluations in South America, and a heck of a lot of new condo units coming on the market” is leading to softening demand.

The effect the order will have on Miami’s already shaky real-estate market depends upon the number of buyers using dirty money to purchase those properties.

 

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http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/feds-will-track-how-much-of-miamis-real-estate-boom-is-being-fueled-by-money-laundering-8174220

Are FICO scores becoming a thing of the past? | Armonk Real Estate

While most people can agree that the current credit score system needs work, not everyone can agree on the proper solution.

Take a look at San Francisco-based SoFi as an example. The company operates like a young tech garage in Silicon Valley except it’s a a disrupter in the mortgage industry, pushing the limits by doing things like choosing to not use FICO scores when evaluating applicants.

Here’s a clip from the lender’s blog explaining the reason behind that decision:

The idea of assigning a score based on your dealings with debt makes sense in theory, but in practice there are a few flaws.

The FICO score calculation doesn’t consider things like your savings, your cash flow, your ability to pay non-credit bills like water and electric or your future earnings (for example, if you just landed a job with excellent pay). Plus there’s the fact that a growing number of millennials are forgoing credit cards entirely, which is reflected negatively in their credit scores – even though they may be perfectly able to pay off a loan. All of these factors can have a major impact on your creditworthiness, but your FICO score doesn’t take them into account.

Because of these gaps, SoFi has chosen to not use FICO scores when evaluating the financial wherewithal of applicants. We still consider your track record of meeting financial obligations, but we also look at a more complete picture of your financial situation than what your credit score can provide.

Whether you agree or disagree with this method, SoFi seems to be doing well in its endeavors.

The lender only recently ventured into the mortgage industry, expanding past the world of student loans where it got its start.

Toward the end of 2015, SoFi announced that it had not only officially surpassed $4 billion in funded loans across mortgages, personal loans and student loan refinancing, but it alsoannounced $1 billion in Series E funding shortly after.

“SoFi continues to redefine consumer expectations in financial services. This funding will dramatically advance expansion of our disruptive products and experiences, and in turn, meaningfully benefit financially responsible individuals.  Our trajectory is clear: we are well on our way to becoming the most trusted financial services partner in the U.S.,” Mike Cagney, SoFi CEO and co-founder, said at the time.

It’s not just mortgage lenders questioning the credit scoring model — the government isn’t too fond of the current credit system either.

In December, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives that would allowFannie Mae and Freddie Mac to consider alternative credit-scoring models beyond the FICO credit score the government-sponsored enterprises currently use when determining what loans to purchase.

The bill, which is entitled the “Credit Score Competition Act of 2015,” was introduced by Rep. Ed Royce, R-CA., and Rep. Terri Sewell, D-AL.

In Royce and Sewell’s view, lower-to-middle income Americans who are qualified to buy a home but are unable to do so because of their FICO score or lack thereof will “specifically benefit from the GSEs using other credit scoring models.”

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/blogs/1-rewired/post/36017-are-fico-scores-becoming-a-thing-of-the-past?eid=311691494&bid=1278399

Consumer confidence improved in December | North Salem Real Estate

Consumer confidence improved in December after the previous two months declines. The Consumer Confidence Index, recently released by the Conference Board, rose to 96.5 in December from 92.6 in November. Both subcomponents, the present situation and expectations indices, rebounded in December as well. The present situation index rose to 115.3 in December from 110.9 in November; the expectations index climbed up to 83.9 in December from 80.4 in November.

The figure below shows that the real GDP growth rate and consumer confidence are highly correlated over the past three decades. When GDP growth is negative, consumer confidence declines sharply; when growth resumes, consumer confidence increases as well. During the recent recession, as the real GDP growth rate dropped to -8.2%, consumer confidence fell to the historically lowest level in the early 2009. After that, the real GDP growth rate rebounded back to the positive levels and consumer confidence also slowly recovered. As the recovery from the Great Recession continues, consumer confidence is climbing up toward to the pre-recession levels.

Figure 1 December

The Conference Board also reports the shares of respondents planning to buy a lived-in home within six months. The shares of respondents planning to buy a lived-in home within six months fell to 3.4% in December, from 4.0% in November. The trends in the shares of respondents planning to buy a lived-in home within six months and the growth rate of the Case-Shiller Home Price Index (the dash lines) are very similar. When there is high demand for housing house price appreciation accelerates; when there is lower demand for housing house price appreciation decelerates.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/01/consumer-confidence-in-december-beyond-the-monthly-volatile-data/

CoreLogic: Foreclosures fall to lowest level since 2007 | Cross River Real Estate

The inventory of homes in foreclosure continued to decrease in November 2015, falling to the lowest level since November 2007, a new report from CoreLogic showed.

CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider, released its November 2015 National Foreclosure Report on Tuesday.

The report shows that during the month of November foreclosure inventory declined by 21.8% and completed foreclosures declined by 18.8% compared with November 2014.

CoreLogic’s report also showed that the number of completed foreclosures nationwide fell year over year from 41,000 in November 2014 to 33,000 in November 2015.

Additionally, the number of completed foreclosures in November 2015 was down 71.6% from the peak of 117,657 in September 2010, CoreLogic’s report noted.

According to CoreLogic’s report, the foreclosure inventory represents the number of homes at some stage of the foreclosure process and completed foreclosures reflect the total number of homes lost to foreclosure.

CoreLogic’s report noted that as of November 2015, the national foreclosure inventory was approximately 448,000, or 1.2%, of all homes with a mortgage compared with 573,000 homes, or 1.5%, in November 2014.

The November 2015 foreclosure inventory rate marks the lowest for any month since November 2007, CoreLogic’s report showed.

“After peaking at 3.6% in January 2011, the foreclosure rate currently stands at 1.2% – a remarkable improvement,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “While there are still pockets of areas with high foreclosure activity, 30 states have foreclosure rates below the national average which is evidence of the solid improvement.”

But it wasn’t just the number of homes in foreclosure that fell to an eight-year low.

CoreLogic also reports that the number of mortgages in serious delinquency, which CoreLogic defines as 90 days or more past due, including loans in foreclosure or REO, declined by 21.7% from November 2014 to November 2015, to 1.3 million mortgages, or 3.3%, in this category.

According to CoreLogic, the November 2015 serious delinquency rate is the lowest since Dec. 2007.

“Tight post-crash underwriting standards coupled with much improved economic and housing market fundamentals have combined to push new mortgage delinquencies to 15-year-lows,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Although judicial states will likely continue to lag, given current trends, it is reasonable to expect a continued and significant drop in the rate of serious delinquencies and foreclosure starts in 2016.”

CoreLogic’s report also showed that:

  • On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures decreased by 10.9% to 33,000 in November 2015 from the 38,000 reported in October 2015.
  • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in November 2015 were Florida (83,000), Michigan (51,000), Texas (29,000), California (24,000) and Georgia (24,000). These five states accounted for almost half of all completed foreclosures nationally.
  • Four states and the District of Columbia had the lowest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in November 2015: the District of Columbia (78), North Dakota (225), Wyoming (543), West Virginia (565) and Hawaii (686).
  • Four states and the District of Columbia had the highest foreclosure inventory rate in November 2015: New Jersey (4.4%), New York (3.5%), Hawaii (2.5%), Florida (2.4%) and the District of Columbia (2.4%).

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36008-corelogic-foreclosures-fall-to-lowest-level-since-2007?eid=311691494&bid=1275777

Mortgage rates drop again to 3.79% | Bedford NY Realtor

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing mortgage rates moving lower for the fourth consecutive week as the Fed held interest rates steady at its FOMC meeting on Wednesday.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.79 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending January 28, 2016, down from last week when it averaged 3.81 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.66 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.07 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from 3.10 percent last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.98 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.90 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.91 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.86 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for theDefinitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“The yield on the 10-year Treasury stabilized around 2 percent this week, and the 30-year mortgage rate dipped 2 basis points to 3.79 percent. The recent market turmoil has given the Fed pause; as was universally expected, the Fed stood pat this week but kept its options open for a rate increase in March. This week’s housing releases confirmed the momentum of home sales going into 2016. A hesitant Fed, sub-4-percent mortgage rates (at least for a little while longer), and strong housing fundamentals should generate a three percent increase in home sales this year.”

Existing Home Sales Weak Despite Good Job Numbers | Mt Kisco Real Estate

Sales of existing homes weakened at the end of 2015, despite ongoing good news for job creation. According to estimates from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the seasonally adjusted volume of home resales declined 10.5% from October to November and were 3.8% lower than a year prior. This marked the first year-over-year decline since September 2014. However, much of this decline was attributable to new mortgage disclosure rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that likely resulted in delays for some sales.

Similarly, the NAR Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator for home sales, declined in November. This was the third decline in the last four months; however, the index remains 2.7% higher than a year ago.

In contrast, new home sales posted a small increase in November, rising 4.3% from a downwardly revised October pace to a 490,000 annual pace. On a year-to-date basis, new home sales were 14.5% higher than for the first 11 months of 2014. Builders are also adding to inventory with rising demand. New home inventories rose to 232,000, the highest since January 2010.

Strengthening job creation should continue to promote home building activity in 2016. And the December Bureau of Labor Statistics report offered positive news. The economy produced 292,000 more jobs for the month, plus an additional 50,000 jobs recorded due to upward revisions for prior months. The unemployment rate held steady at 5%.

The residential construction industry – home builders and remodelers – added 23,100 jobs in December after a cycle-high job gain set in November (31,500). These two months followed a period of lackluster employment gains for the sector. The overall construction industry continues to see elevated levels of unfilled jobs, as does the economy as whole.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/01/eye-on-the-economy-existing-home-sales-weak-despite-good-job-numbers/

Stronger Growth for Residential Construction Employment | South Salem Real Estate

The count of unfilled jobs in the overall construction sector increased in November, as hiring in the home building sector accelerated.

According to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and NAHB analysis, the number of open construction sector jobs (on a seasonally adjusted basis) increased to 135,000 in November from 121,000 in October. The cycle high of 168,000 open positions was set during March.

On a three-month moving average basis, the open position rate (job openings as a percent of total employment) for the construction sector held steady at 1.9% for November. The overall trend for construction open jobs has been increasing, although the current open rate is down from the cycle high last reached in May (2.4%) as construction hiring picked up in recent months.

cosntr JOLTS

The construction sector hiring rate, as measured on a three-month moving average basis, increased to 5.1%, although it remains near rates set in the spring of 2015. The quits rate for construction jumped to 2% for November, the highest rate since December 2014.

Monthly employment data for December 2015 (the employment count data from the BLS establishment survey are published one month ahead of the JOLTS data) indicate that home builders and remodelers increased hiring significantly on a seasonally adjusted basis for the last two months. Total residential construction employment grew by 23,100 for December, after a pickup of 31,500 for November. The November gain was the largest single increase during the post-recession period.

The pace of hiring for the residential construction industry had been slowing over the course of 2015. With the jumps in November and December however, the six-month average of monthly employment growth is now a healthy 15,000.

Residential construction employment now stands at 2.534 million, broken down as 710,000 builders and 1.82 million residential specialty trade contractors.

res constr employ

Over the last 12 months home builders and remodelers have added 137,000 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point of industry employment following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 547,700 positions.

In December, the unemployment rate for construction workers increased slightly to 7% on a seasonally adjusted basis, up from the cycle low of 6.5% set during July. The unemployment rate for the construction occupation has been on a general decline since reaching a peak rate of 22% in February 2010.

Many builders continue to cite access to labor as a top business challenge as the market recovers (for example, see this NAHB survey on the issue, focusing on builder and subcontractor workers).

For the economy as a whole, the November JOLTS data indicate that the hiring rate held steady at 3.6% of total employment. The overall open job rate increased to 3.7%, near the 3.8% cycle high set during July.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/01/stronger-growth-for-residential-construction-employment/

Miami Market Cools as Foreign Buyers Flee | Waccabuc Real Estate

An aerial view of Miami Beach and South Beach, where the condo market is showing signs of stagnation. Photo by Chris Condon / Getty Images.

There was a time, only two years ago, when Miami’s condo market seemed like an ever-expanding balloon. South Florida was the nation’s biggest real estate comeback story. Miami became a go-to destination for luxury buyers looking to add to their property portfolios.

But like most things filled with hot air, eventually the balloon starts its gradual descent back to earth.

For those who have been waiting for the drop, 2016 may well be the year when softening demand—fueled by stock market volatility in China, low oil prices, currency devaluations in South America, and a heck of a lot of new condo units coming on the market—becomes too much to overcome.

As 2016 begins, signs of a slowdown abound. While prices continue to rise for single-family houses, fewer are selling. The market for condos, which many consider a health indicator of vacationer-heavy Miami Beach, is also showing early signs of stagnation.

The number of single-family home sales that closed dipped by 6.7 percent in November compared to the same month in 2014, while new pending sales fell by 15 percent, making it the fifth straight month of decline, according to the Miami Association of Realtors. Nevertheless, median home prices rose by 12 percent to $274,900—the third straight month of double-digit increases.

The condo market told a slightly different story. Overall, closed sales inched up by 1.9 percent, reversing a two-month slide. New pending sales slid by 16.5 percent, year-over-year, the second highest month of decline in 2015 (October being the highest, at 17.9 percent). Median prices grew by 7 percent to $203,000.

While overall the median days on the market for condos fell by 12 percent, units selling for $300,000 to $999,999 proved particularly sluggish, with homes from $300,000 to $399,999 spending 72 days on the market, a median increase of 50 percent, according to Miami Real Estate Association.

In the condo market especially, there seems to be a growing disconnect between sellers’ expectations and market reality. And local brokers say they are seeing mounting frustration. “We are seeing a lot of sellers calling us saying, ‘What is happening? Nothing is moving,'” said Mark Zilbert, president of Brown Harris Zilbert in Miami.

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 4.14.42 AM.pngThe Porsche Design tower reached its full 60-story height in October 2015. Photos courtesy of Porsche Design Tower.

How did this happen? Blame the foreigners. In 2012, developer Gil Dezer publicly said “obrigado” (thank you) to the many Brazilians who were scooping up condos in Miami and Miami Beach. Dezer, who has been developing the 60-story Porsche Design Tower, credited the Brazilians for almost single-handedly turning around the depressed condo market. Other groups followed suit, including Argentines, Venezuelans, Colombians, Russians and other Europeans, and many Canadians.

Today, much of that interest has disappeared. “We are seeing a lower intensity of demand from foreign investors, comprising an estimated one third of the condo market sales” in Miami, said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, a real estate appraisal and consulting firm in New York.

AP_552128137723.jpgThe view from the under-construction Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles. Photo by Joel Auerbach / AP Photo.

Miller cited a stronger U.S. dollar, volatile financial markets, and “sharp declines in GDP in source countries that fed Miami demand” as the biggest reasons for the turnaround.

He added that the “significant volume of new housing stock” that is being added has “provided a lot of information for investors to process and removed the sense of urgency from the market.” Also contributing to the general slowdown has been a decline in distressed sales in 2015, which previously helped skew overall prices higher. Foreclosures and short sales both dipped by double digit percentages in November.

But problems abroad are clearly at the heart of the Miami slowdown. Brazil’s currency, the real, has fallen off by more than half since Dezer gave thanks, and the country’s economy is poised for a second straight year of contraction. Economic sanctions on Russia are finally taking a toll on Miami buying at all but the billionaire oligarch level. “Rubles? We don’t see much of those any more,” Zilbert said.

Falling oil prices have hurt Brazil and Russia as well, and compounded problems even further for Miami’s biggest foreign buying group: Venezuelans. Despite government restrictions on how much money they can pull out of their country, Venezuelans continued to buy in and around Miami in 2015. But the restrictions “have had a huge effect on the flow of business,” Philip Siegelman, a principal at real estate marketer ISG, told me late last year.

Venezuelans and Brazilians, it can be argued, are smart to play the currency game. In a downward economic spiral, waiting can end up costing them more, as inflation rises and currencies continue to decline at home. Brazilians that paid hefty deposits in 2014 for pre-construction Miami condos look brilliant now. Their money has more than doubled in Brazilian currency terms.

But there is too much of that new development coming on line to keep the market surging.

The result is that, while a lot of Americans and foreigners continue to show interest in Miami, “There is a shrinking number of people willing to pull the trigger,” Zilbert said. “And the sellers are starting to notice.”

What is especially troubling to brokers is that the expected surge of buying in the last quarter of 2015 didn’t pan out. The bottom line: Many buyers are no longer accepting the price increases that sellers are pushing for.

“I think we are going to see pricing slip back to 2014 levels in order to attract the buyers,” Zilbert said.

Sales have remained fairly stable at mid-tier properties priced between $350,000 to about $700,000, where condos have not appreciated enough to scare away buyers, brokers say. Units in buildings like the Waverly South Beach and the Yacht Club at Portofino continue to find buyers, Zilbert said.

But lately, resale units at the Icon South Beach, the Floridian South Beach and 900 Biscayne in downtown Miami, have struggled to move, as buyers have balked at higher listing prices.

shutterstock_351668990.jpgConstruction in Miami’s South of Fifth neighborhood. Photo by Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.

In Zilbert’s own South of Fifth neighborhood, he is seeing buyers pass on a number of units for sale in premium buildings like the Murano Grande (where he lives) and the Continuum. Just two years ago, South of Fifth, a once-blighted section of the beach known for crack houses and rampant crime, was considered Miami Beach’s most-expensive and hottest neighborhood, a truly stunning rebirth story. Lately, more and more units are lingering on the market, Zilbert said.

As Miller noted, sellers are “usually the last to recognize a change in the market when it is weakening,” which results in lower sales activity. “It is not that demand is weak, but rather that there is a growing disconnect between what sellers want and what the market can support,” he said.

Not every segment of the Miami market is showing signs of softening. The high end, with prices in excess of $3 million, is still raging. Sales remain brisk at luxury towers like Faena House, the newly announced Eighty Seven Park, and the Surf Club Four Seasons.

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http://curbed.com/archives/2016/01/12/miami-market-cools-condo-prices-foreign-buyers.php?utm_campaign=issue-42758&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Curbed

The evolution of window styles and technology | Bedford Hills Real Estate

This post is part of a monthly series that explores the historical applications of building materials and systems through resources from the Building Technology Heritage Library (BTHL), an online collection of AEC catalogs, brochures, trade publications, and more. The BTHL is a project of the Association for Preservation Technology, an international building preservation organization. Read more about the archive here.

Windows are one of the most expressive and vital features of a building, serving as part of the thermal envelope while affording light transmission, sound control, and natural ventilation. While window designs have long varied in opening size, sash pattern, and shape, they remained largely made from wood until the early 20th century, when steel and aluminum became feasible material options. Around the same time, insulated glass units, curtainwalls, and glass block came onto the scene, taking off in use following World War II. The following 11 brochures, pamphlets, and journals, culled from the BTHL, explore how glazing, windows, and related components evolved from the mid-19th through the mid-20th centuries.

Combined Book of Sash, Doors, Blinds, Mouldings, Paine Lumber Co., 1893: Wood windows and window moldings were commonly available through millwork companies and at lumber yards by the mid-19th century. Window and frame units were among the first building components to be made in a factory rather than built on-site. This catalog, published by Rand McNally and typical of the era, was issued by a number of lumber yards and exemplifies standardization in materials and dimensions of building components like millwork across the country.

Complete Catalog, Roach & Musser Sash and Door Co., 1905: This extensive brochure features double-hung windows with myriad design configurations, including arch-top, bowed, and stained-glass.

United Steel Sash, Trussed Concrete Steel Co., 1912: The use of steel-sash windows like those marketed in this catalog brought ample daylight into factories and warehouses and represent a milestone in window design in the early 20th century.

The Window Women Want, Andrew Hoffman Manufacturing Co., c. 1923: The now-universal practice of marketing windows to homeowners takes a unique direction in this 1920s catalog for steel casement windows. Offset hinges aim to make cleaning their exterior faces easier—a supposed boon to the woman who, as the pamphlet notes, “spends as many hours of her life in the home that she is entitled to all the comforts that can be secured.”

Building Material: Millwork, Lumber, Roofing, Mantels, and Fireplace Furnishings, Sears, Roebuck & Co., 1929: Though touting energy savings is nothing new, even back then, this page from a 1929 Sears, Roebuck & Co. building materials catalog makes a case for installing storm windows to cut one’s coal bill.

Kawneer: Windows, Doors, Architectural Metal Work, Kawneer Co., 1936: Kawneer was one of the first building-product manufacturers to make aluminum windows, such as those shown in the catalog above, starting in the 1930s. Initially, the company produced metal storefronts before expanding its operations into metal windows and curtainwalls in the mid-20th century.

New! French Mosaic Stained Glass, Studios of George L. Payne, c. 1945: Specialty glass products have an important role in the history of windows in residential and commercial construction. This French company used an American distributor to introduce a new type of stained glass—set in reinforced mortar rather than in lead—to the U.S. market, which would find particular use for the product in midcentury churches.

Glass Manual, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. (PPG), 1946: This dealer’s manual from PPG begins with a history of glass making and of the company. Because this manual was intended for building-material dealers to sell windows and glazing to architects and builders, it includes technical and performance details for the full range of PPG glass products.

For Brighter Homes: Insulux Glass Block, American Structural Products Co., 1950: Glass block made its debut in the 1930s and quickly found its place in many commercial, industrial, and residential applications. This small catalog shows how it can be used to bring daylight into homes without sacrificing privacy.

Twindow: The World’s Finest Insulating Glass!, PPG, 1958: Insulating glass is an early-20th-century innovation that didn’t enter the mass market until after World War II. Twindow was PPG’s propriety name for its insulated glass product, which in this catalog is being marketed for use in homes to maintain thermal comfort and manage energy costs year-round.

Kirsch Guide to Window Beauty, Kirsch Co., 1961: Window curtains and shades are featured in this catalog from the Kirsch Co., a century-old interior finishes business started in 1907. Kirsch catalogs from the 1920s through the 1960s show the evolution of popular window-blind and curtain styles.

 

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http://www.architectmagazine.com/technology/products/pulling-back-the-curtain-a-brief-history-of-windows_o

Great reasons to build a geodesic dome home | Katonah Real Estate

 

Dome homes. They’re kind of weird looking and they don’t exactly fit into those perfect little neighborhoods you see when walking around a cute downtown area or a clean-cut suburban gated community. But Buckminster Fuller saw the potential is those triangles: With the goal of creating a structure analogous to nature’s own designs, Fuller began to experiment with geometry in the late 1940s. In 1951, he patented the geodesic dome, and while you may not see a lot of on a normal city street, geodesic domes are known to be the most efficient building system available. So, why should you want a dome home anyway?

geodesic dome, dome homes, inside a dome home, dome homes, buckminster fuller, bucky fuller

Fuller, a philosopher, mathematician, engineer, historian, and poet, is known for popularizing the geodesic dome in architectural projects. One of his ambitions was to do more with less, knowing that eventually a housing crisis may endanger the planet’s growing population. He also noticed problems inherent in conventional construction techniques whereas natural structures seemed to have less trouble adapting to Mother Nature’s various issues.

the-gold-dome-oklahoma-3

1. Energy Efficiency

The sphere is nature’s most efficient shape, covering the most living area with the least amount of surface area. When compared with a similar sized rectangularly-shaped house, the dome home will have 30 percent less surface area. A dome home will actually use about 1 /3 less lumber to build than a similar sized box house, according to Linda Boothe, owner of Oregon Dome, so even though the dome uses less material, it’s about five times stronger than a rectangular-shaped house. Additionally, a third less surface area means that a third less heat is transferred to and from its surroundings, saving the average dome homeowner about 30 percent or more on their average heating and cooling bill.

 

geodesic dome, dome homes, inside a dome home, dome homes, buckminster fuller, bucky fuller

2. They’re Disaster-Proof

Well, just about. When the Loma Prieta earthquake in the Santa Cruz mountains hit in 1989, it hit 7.1 on Richter scale and over 500 conventional homes in the area were destroyed or needed extensive repair. Many more were damaged or needed major repair after the aftershocks rolled through. The only home to survive that quake in the area was an Oregon Dome geodesic dome home, Boothe said, and it was set up as a shelter for local earthquake survivors. Time and time again, dome homes have survived earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes when all other homes were destroyed. Why?

According to Boothe: “You can begin to see the intrinsic strength of this design by trying the following: Nail four boards together replicating box house framing and then nail three boards together in a triangle. You’ll find you can easily bend, twist, and skew the conventional square shape into many different shapes. This is what happens to your house in an earthquake. Now try to change the shape of the triangle. You can’t. The triangle is the strongest shape.”

dome_home_kit

3. Cheaper to Build than Traditional Houses

also save you on building materials, making them cheaper to build. Think of it like a soap bubble. Less surface area equals less lumber— which is cheaper for you all around.

 

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4. Endless Design Possibilities

The design possibilities are almost endless. While it may seem odd at first to try and figure out how to design a round home, the open floor plan allows you to insert or remove walls almost anywhere. A dome home is structurally independent of interior framing, so you don’t have to worry about that kitchen wall being “load-bearing”. Further, natural openings that occur within the construction of the dome allow for large openings and windows to the outside, letting light in throughout.

A dome home is an odd thing, certainly, and you may never see them lining the grid of regular city streets. However, every community that is hit, with tornadoes, earthquakes or hurricanes, however infrequently, would be smart to put a large dome structure near their town where they can gather and seek shelter during storms, much like the city of Tupelo, Mississippi is now doing.

 

read more…

 

http://inhabitat.com/5-great-reasons-to-build-a-geodesic-dome-home/