Tuesday, December 9, 2008

When is the Best Time to Build a Green Home?

The economy may be affecting your plans to build an energy efficient home – but other consumers are taking advantage of low construction costs and are investing in a less energy-dependant future.
If financing is holding you back, you may be interested in hearing how some New Hampshire banks are doing compared to the national economic situation. Over Thanksgiving weekend Manchester’s WMUR Channel 9 ran a segment called “NH’s Business”, hosted by Fred Kocher, interviewing two finance experts, K. Mark Primeau, President and CEO of Laconia Savings Bank, and Russell Thibeault, President of Applied Economic Research.

New Hampshire currently has 37 state chartered banks and credit unions – and interestingly, most are still actively writing residential and commercial loans. “Despite national economic problems, things in New Hampshire look reasonably good,” says Thibeault. Why? Because of conservative operations and lending procedures in the past, “New Hampshire banks are starting from a much stronger position than national banks.”

This is certainly good news for those building in New Hampshire. Laconia Savings Bank, with 17 locations in the state, indicates loan volume is up 10% and consumers are taking advantage of the opportunity to buy and build homes at lower prices. Primeau states, “[New Hampshire banks] are not hoarding money, they’re trying to lend.”

Thibeault states “[the economy] will turn around if consumers regain their confidence.”

Here are a few good reasons why it's smart to start your home design now if you’re planning to build a home next year:

1. By starting the design process now, you’ll have everything in place, including permits, to build when you are ready;

2. Green homes are more affordable to own and are more energy- and resource-efficient than ever before;

3. The federal government is offering temporary tax credits for new homebuyers. See FederalHousingTaxCredit.com for details;

4. Renewable energy systems are more affordable than ever, and many tax credits have been extended. Visit the ENERGY STAR® website for more information;

5. Some banks are offering near record-low mortgage interest rates and are actively seeking to loan money;

6. Builders are offering incentives and upgrades in order to win your business;

7. Builders’ schedules are flexible. Instead of you having to wait for the builder and subcontractors to have an opening in their schedule, they are anxious to get started on your project;

8. You can build your equity. Even though property values have declined in some markets, for most Americans home equity represents the largest share of their net worth.

Give us a call today to start designing your energy efficient home!

Jackie Lampiasi
Bonin Architects & Associates, PLLC

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