I saw three pieces of good news yesterday:
1. a report from the Dow Jones Newswire that Toll Brothers, Inc., a big-time builder/developer, reported sharply improved results for its fourth quarter ending October 31st, with orders above the levels of 2007 and a cancellation rate in line with pre-downturn averages.
I find this interesting in light of Toll Brothers' decision to focus on the high-end of the market as opposed to many other builders who are focusing on building for the first-time buyer.
Toll Brothers' net signed contracts for the 4th quarter rose a strong 42% to 765 units, with an increase of 62% in dollar volume to $430.8 million. The figure beat the fiscal fourth quarter of 2007 -- yes 2007 a great year -- by 17% and 18%, respectively.
2. The Washington Business Journal reported that Atlanta-based Beazer Homes, another big builder/developer (with developments in South Florida among other areas), posted its first quarterly profit SINCE 2006 and said there are signs business is improving.
Beazer cited "historically high housing affordability" as one of the reasons buyers are coming back to their markets. Perception of value is always a big buyer-incentive regardless of where the buyer fits into the home-buying spectrum.
3. Back at home here in the Vail Valley, I am encouraged to see that a 2-acre homesite on Holden Road in Beaver Creek, sold yesterday for more than $3 million. Land buyers are generally strategic buyers and this tells me that someone is taking the longer view of our local economy and feels confident enough in its future to buy a piece of land and either build something on it or, at least, land-bank it for a coming better day.