Homebuilder confidence hits major milestone - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Real Estate

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Homebuilder confidence hits major milestone

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Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013 6:32 am

You might naturally assume that with the uptick in homebuilding activity across the country and the economy’s steady improvement, homebuilders everywhere would be jumping for joy. Not exactly.

In fact, a recently released report from the National Association of Home Builders illustrates the industry’s reluctance until now to fully embrace the optimism we’ve been feeling for some time in the West. According to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, nationwide builder confidence appeared to turn a corner in June, when the index results surged eight points to a reading of 52 — topping 50 for the first time in seven years. Fifty is the magic number: a reading higher than 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor.

The index hasn’t seen a one-month jump this large since before the recession, when it rose eight points between August and September 2002. The Housing Market Index is based on builders’ impressions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the coming six months. Builders also are asked to rate prospective buyer traffic as “high to very high,” “average,” or “low to very low.”

All three indicators posted gains in June. The index measuring current sales conditions increased eight points to 56, while the index gauging sales expectations rose nine points to 61, its highest level since March 2006. Traffic expectations rose seven points to 40 on the index scale.

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said builders finally are “experiencing some relief in the headwinds that are holding back a more robust recovery,” and we believe he’s right. According to Crowe, builders’ June display of confidence supports the NAHB’s forecast for a 29 percent increase in housing starts this year, which would be the first time since 2007 that starts will have topped 1 million.

• Andy Warren is President of Maracay Homes, the Arizona subsidiary of the Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona and Greater Phoenix Leadership; as well as the Board of Directors and as an Executive Committee member with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. He is also an active member of the Urban Land Institute.

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Keystone Montessori

[David Jolkovski/AFN]
Teacher Pily Pantoja helps Sarah Wang, 4, with the addition snake game at Keystone Montessori on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014.

Keystone Montessori has come a long way since its founding in 1995. Back then it was operated out of the founder’s home before eventually moving on to rent rooms from Horizon Presbyterian Church. It was only in 2000 that they had gained a strong enough enrollment to move into the facility where they currently reside on Liberty Lane, just off Desert Foothills Parkway and across from the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA.

The school services students as young as 18 years old, as part of their toddler program, and as old as ninth-graders. The current enrollment is around 320 students, who all have access to Spanish, music and arts programs in addition to the full Montessori curriculum.

“We provide an authentic Montessori education which focuses on the independence and whole development of the child, including academic as well as social and emotional growth,” said head of school Cindy Maschoff. “We want our students to become independent citizens of the world.”

The school will be taking the time to present the concept of Montessori education to the public Jan. 29 and 30. At the presentations the school will provide a clear understanding of what Montessori education looks like at each level of education. Those wanting to attend should plan on going to both meetings, with the Jan. 29 meeting going from 6-7 p.m. and the Jan. 30 meeting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meetings require attendees to RSVP, which can be done by emailing laura@keystonemontessori.com.

For more information, visit keystonemontessori.com.

• Compiled by James Gingerich.

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