Caruso’s 5 Factors to Heal the Housing Market….

While reading various articles I came across an article about 5 factors that may heal the housing market. They say it takes little logic to conclude that the Home buyer Tax Credit incentive is borrowing buyers from the future. Many of these buyers would have been in a position to purchase in the months ahead, given continued low interest rates and buyer-friendly home prices; this is reflected in recent home sales and mortgage application reports. For this to reverse five things need to happen:

  • 1. Interest rate must remain low.
  • 2. Private-sector wages will need to rise, enabling the current employed to better qualify for mortgages.
  • 3. New jobs must to be created in the private-sector to bring new households into the home buying ranks.
  • 4. The consumer savings needs to increase thus creating the down payment and closing costs for home purchases.
  • 5. Consumer Spending must increase.

Recovery of the housing industry and the greater economy is dependent on job and wage growth in the private sector. To date the economic recovery efforts have been spent on public spending projects and government employment. They have not stimulated creation of non-government jobs as most businesses are cautiously on a hiring hold. Currently, around 10 million people are claiming unemployment benefits.

David Semmens of Standard Chartered Bank voices two major concerns:

1) this is still very early stages and given hours worked are currently very low any uptick helps lift personal income, despite poor hiring numbers;

2) the data is currently being lifted by the census hiring so the data in coming months (4-5) will shed far more light as I would expect it to be weak as the census jobs are lost.

The labor market appears to be gradually healing. Omar Sharif of RBS states, “With the labor market gradually healing, wages have shown some momentum this year, with the three-month annualized rate hitting 5.3% In May, the fastest pace of advance since November 2007.”

May’s Personal Income indicator show that Personal Income ROSE by 4.0%, Wages and Salaries ROSE by 0.5% and Consumer Spending ROSE by 0.2% and is now 4.6% ABOVE its year ago level but has decelerated over the past 3 and 6 months and finally, The Savings Rate ROSE to 4.0%.

Steve Wood of Insight Economics concludes: “The growing economy, which is now creating private sector jobs with a lengthening workweek, combined with ongoing monetary and fiscal stimulus, has strengthened growth in personal income and wages and salaries. Although still soft, they are much stronger than they were just 6 months ago.”

So, it appears that the US economy is modestly advancing on all five points. If it continues to improve it will still take time to create qualified home buying households.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

Caruso’s Floating Houses

Morphosis Architects Floating Houses

Recently I have read that floating houses are getting more attention these days, moving from the whimsical and conceptual to more practical considerations. Brad Pitt’s “Make It Right Foundation” which has been working to rebuild hurricane-torn New Orleans through innovative green design has teamed up with Morphosis Architects to unveil a home that floats when flooded.

So, if floodwaters rise, the house floats, gliding up 12-foot guideposts. It easily breaks away from electric lines and plumbing and has batteries to power up appliances and devices inside for up to three days. It is also made with green materials.

Will this concept work on a big scale? It’s too early to say, but it’s certainly thinking outside the box. Here are a few different houses they’ve come up with.



The stylish Schwimmhaus designed by German architects, is ideal for those looking for a compact, environmentally friendly floating home. It is built from reclaimed wood from an old farmhouse and other sustainable building materials, and its green roof adds to the eco-friendly appeal. The simple-yet-sleek interior design offers all the conveniences you could want and is thoroughly modern and unique. The Schwimmhaus was designed to float around or to stay docked permanently.

Schwimmhaus (© Confused-Direction)

Dubai Houseboat

As with most architectural designs coming out of Dubai, this houseboat is simply stunning. The 2,368-square-foot home was cleverly designed by Dubai-based architectural firm. Set on two catamaran beams, this two-story structure is practically encased in glass windows, allowing sunlight to flood the interior. It would take the average person more than a few bank loans to get his hands on the swish fittings and up market features of this chic and spacious floating home, even if it’s just to rent it for a week.

Dubai houseboat (© X-Architects)

Arctic Houseboat

The term “really cool” takes on new meaning with this houseboat, developed specifically for the Arctic winter. Inspired by the Inuit practice of turning their hunting boats upside down for winter shelter, the builders of this unique structure, took the idea to a new level by creating a prefabricated, highly insulated home that can endure harsh climates. Equipped with solar, wind and marine power systems, this self-contained unit can be placed virtually anywhere. The interior is cozy and compact and contains all the modern conveniences most people crave.

Arctic houseboat (© Covey Island Boatworks)

Floating Solar House

Environmentally conscious, U.K.-based, has reinvented RV holidays with these unique and eco-friendly solar powered houseboat. Apparently, the resourceful design enables the structure to be totally self-sufficient for up to a year at a time. It can also be docked at a floating-home community to use its power, fresh water and sewage-treatment facilities. Similar in design to a camper van, this 807-square-foot houseboat has an open kitchen and living area, with enclosed sleeping areas in the back.

Floating solar house (© Mark Kingsley Architects)

Summer Houseboat

This unique design by Russian architect Vladimir Plotkin, was created for the 2008 Archstoyanie Summer Festival in Russia, where the theme was Noah’s Ark. The giant, disc like living space is suspended above a floating platform and is accessed via ladders. The interior is compact, but by no means claustrophobic. The lattice walls ensure constant ventilation, and the large portholes provide ample natural light.

Summer houseboat (© Vladimir Plotkin/Archstoyanie)

 Cosmic Muffin Plane Boat

This home certainly gets tongues wagging. Once owned by Howard Hughes, the 1930s Boeing 307 Stratoliner was converted into a houseboat and is now a famous tourist attraction in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Surprisingly roomy inside, it houses a small sleeping area and bathroom at the rear, while the main hull is dedicated to living space that features a large bar area and even a computer work station.

 Cosmic Muffin plane boat (©

Kerala Houseboat

This beautiful houseboat is an ideal holiday home for those wishing to explore southern India without having to change hotels regularly. This two-bedroom, three-bathroom luxury houseboat is fully air-conditioned and even has a Jacuzzi onboard. The crew is English-speaking and there is a chef onboard to whip up gourmet meals.

 Kerala houseboat (© EyesWideOpen/Getty Images)

The question I have to ask is, Can you see youself living in one of these??

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

Did You Know with Caruso!

Did You Know….

More than 100,000 people have used the convenient south Orange County branch office of the Orange County Clerk-Recorder Department since it opened four years ago. The patron milestone was reached earlier this month.

The branch office is located in the Laguna Hills Civic Center at 24031 El Toro Road. A second branch office opened last year in historic downtown Fullerton, at 201 N. Harbor Blvd.

Previously, customers had to drive to downtown Santa Ana for copies of birth and death certificates, marriage licenses and to record property documents. The convenient Laguna Hills location has saved South County customers about 3.4 million driving miles by offering an alternative to the department’s main office in the Orange County Civic Center. Providing services closer to home has proved popular. More than 5,000 couples have been married at the South County office, which has issued more than 15,000 marriage licenses and more than 111,000 copies of birth, death and marriage records.

Other services available at the South County office include recording and issuing copies of real property documents, filing environmental impact reports and filing fictitious business name statements. The office is easy to find, just off the Santa Ana (I-5) Freeway and El Toro Road, across the street from the Laguna Hills Mall. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, with ample free parking.

The Orange County Clerk-Recorder provides a variety of public services, including recording documents related to real property transactions, maintaining and issuing copies of birth, death and marriage certificates, issuing marriage licenses and performing civil wedding ceremonies. The department also files Fictitious Business Names and Notary Public oaths and bonds, and processes passport applications. The department oversees the Orange County Archives, a center for materials, research and education, preserving Orange County history for the public.

 And Now You Know!

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

For more information, visit the Clerk-Recorder web site at

The World Reacts To Landon Donovan’s Goal

 Who says the US doesn’t like soccer??

Watch the reaction from around the globe as Landon Donovan sends the U.S. soccer team into the knockout stage of the World Cup.  Click on the link below... And Enjoy!!

And Thank You for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection

Best Regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors 


Caruso’s OC Happenings~ North County



Attention all Southern California residents!! When you buy the Summer Pass it lets you play for 3 days in either theme park each day for just $108 – that’s only $36 a visit! Come see the latest and greatest the parks have to offer. And from June 11 to August 29, 2010, come and be thrilled by the nighttime spectacles that are part of Summer Nightastic! For more information you can visit  


Nothing to report


Nothing to report


Starting Saturday will be the first summer concert starting at 6pm at Cypress Civic Center Green. The concert is FREE and tonight will be a tribute to Journey. Light refreshments are available to buy. No alcohol is allowed. For more information you can call 714-828-9930.


Nothing to report


Nothing to report


Beginning Monday the city is offering 5 two-week swim lessons at La Habra High School pool. The lessons are from 9am-12pm and are 40min each. The classes take place Monday-Thursday and are being put on by Red Cross certified instructors. The cost is $60 per a session. For more information call 562-905-9708


Leprechauns Baseball Summer Camp is now enrolling 7th and 8th graders for the first camp of the summer. The session starts at 9:30am on July 5th and will end at 11:30pm on July 15th. The cost is $200 and is due the first day of camp. Also included is a hat and shirt. For more information you can email


Applications are now being accepted from bands, vendors, crafters, car show and parade participants for the 46th annual Placentia Heritage Festival and Parade on Oct. 9th. The theme this year is “On the Road to Prosperity”. For more information you can visit


Nothing to report


Registration for cheerleading and basketball camps has begun. The camp runs from June 28-July 2 at Liberty Park. For more information call 714-895-2860


Calling all Wine Lovers! The Winery at Main Street is now open! Each wine is crafted using grapes from vineyards around the world including France, Italy and more. For more information you can call 714-777-9463 or visit


And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards.            

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI       

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors   (949) 753-7900

For more information visit

Caruso’s OC Happenings~ Central County



Saturday join the Costa Mesa Park Tour for an opportunity to meet with Commissioners and provide input. It is intended as an informational gathering, and the Commission members can take no action. The tour will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. PARK TOUR SCHEDULE: 1. Heller Park 9:00 a.m. -9:30 a.m. ~ 2. Vista Park 9:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. ~ 3. Tanager Park 10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. ~ 4. Estancia Park 11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. ~ 5. Wakeham Park 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.


Tomorrow starts the registration for Swim Lessons June 28 through August 19, 2010.
Registration for all classes will be at the Fountain Valley recreation center and sports park. For more information on which class to register for, please visit or call 714-839-8611.


Saturday the popular Saturday film series returns to the HB Central Library! The movie starts at 2:00pm. The library will be showing Gone Baby Gone. For more information on this free event you can call 714-842-4481.


TONIGHT from 6:00 -10:00 pm ages 5-12yrs can come and explore with flashlights on the Nature Center trail, pig out on pizza, munch on popcorn and be entertained by a theme-related movie! The event takes place at the Nature Center Lobby- Turtle Rock Nature Center.


Calling all CAT and ANIMAL lovers! It’s Adopt-a-Cat Month! Over 500 cats were brought to the Long Beach Animal Care Services this past month. Everyone please consider adopting a cat. Every animal needs a home. For more information on how to adopt a cat call 562-570-7387.


Starting now through Labor Day you can cruise Newport Bay and the fabulous Newport Beach coastline to the backdrop of live Latin music. This 1½ hour cruise travels through the world-renowned Newport Bay with over 20 miles of gorgeous waterfront estates and multi-million dollar yachts. Food and drinks included as well. The cruise takes place every night from 5:30-7:00pm. Call 949-675-0551 for ticket prices and other information.


Saturday come for recreation swim at Hart Park Pool at from 1:00 to 2:15 p.m., 2:30 to 3:45 p.m., and 4:00 to 5:15 p.m.  Price is $2.50 per swimmer.  Swim suits must be worn.  You can also purchase a recreational swim pass for $18/15 sessions available at 230 East Chapman Avenue and at the pool. For more information you can call 714-744-7266.


June 27, 2010 3:00-5:00pm the friends of the Santa Ana Zoo are pleased to bring you two great concert events as part of the 2010 Summer Concert Series! “Blues at the Zoo” featuring The Blues Cruisers on the front lawn. Explore the Zoo, see some cool animals and maybe catch an animal show, feed a few goats and sheep, ride the Zoofari Express train or the Conservation Carousel, then relax on the lawn for a Sunday afternoon Blues jam. Bring a folding chair or blanket and pick a spot to hang out and see the show. For more information visit


Nothing to report


Nothing to report


Coming up June 26th is the 5K Run/Walk hosted by the Friends of the Villa Park Library. The event starts at 7:45am at Villa Park High School. For more information visit or you can call 714-998-1500

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards.     

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI   

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors   (949) 753-7900


For more information visit

Caruso’s OC Happenings ~ South County

South County


Nothing to report.


Movie in the Park starts tonight at 8:00 pm in Lantern Bay Park. The movie tonight will be Night at the Museum.  


Registration is now open for the 4th annual Freedom Run at the Ranch, which includes a 5K run, 10K run and 1K “Little Firecrackers Dash”. The race is July 4th starting at 7:45am. There will also be a pancake breakfast from 7:30-11:30am for $5. For more information and to register visit


GO GREEN! On Saturday residents can drop off their e-waste for free recycling. The event takes place from 9am-1pm at the Laguna Beach School District Parking lot. For more information you can call 949-464-3200.  


Noting to report


Tuesday June 29th residents can come to the budget workshop starting at 8am to discuss how the city should spend its money. For more information you can call 949-362-4300.


Nothing to report


An LA Fitness club will replace the former Mervyn’s store in the Alicia Towne Plaza. The gym will include a pool, basketball and racquetball courts, and areas for free weight and circuit training. The gym could be open by summer 2011.


Lotus 7 is offering classes for children this summer which combined play and yoga. The classes coast $5 and will be offered every Tuesdays and Fridays from 3:30-4:30. For more information visit 


The Chamber of Congress invites you to enter the 2010 Salsa Challenge, a feature of the annual San Clemente Fiesta street festival set for Sunday, Aug 8. The entry fee is $35 for restaurants and $25 for other entrants. You can call 949-492-1131 for more information.


2 WEEKS LEFT! From May 7th-July 2nd, 2010 our own local OC artist Karen Joy Jackson will have her work featured at The San Juan Capistrano Library. Displayed will be 8 matted and framed photographs of Paris and Provence in France. There is also an Architectural Walking Tour each Saturday morning.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards.         

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors   (949) 753-7900

As seen in

THURSDAY PHOTO – World Cup Photo Algeria vs USA

USA is UnStoppAble!!

Shining moment

Shining moment

US midfielder Landon Donovan (L) shoots and scores during their Group C first round 2010 World Cup soccer match on June 23, 2010, at Loftus Verfeld stadium in the 91st minute for the Win!

JEWEL SAMAD – Getty Images

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

The Simple Life

The Simple Life-words that give us a lot to think about as we consider how and where we may want to spend the rest of our days. In Walden, Henry David Thoreau wrote of his two-year experiment with living in a woodland cabin, “As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”

While reading various articles, magazines etc I came across this very interesting take on places where living the simple life is an everyday thing. More than 300 metropolitan areas in the U.S. were screened for characteristics including stable home values, low unemployment and cost of living, minimal traffic congestion, availability of cultural activities, outdoor recreation opportunities, and more-17 traits in all that contribute to a no-hassle, low-key lifestyle. After much research here are the top 5 places that live the simple life.

Tucson, Arizona

Vibe: Latin culture embraces Native American spirit, cowboy grit, and Sunbelt growth
Population: 525,500
Median housing price: $155,500
Average commute: 24 minutes
Average number of sunny days: 286 per year
Most relaxing way to spend an afternoon: Enjoying the cool breezes and plentiful hiking in the Santa Catalina Mountains, just north of town
Simple fun for less than $10: Drinking a beer at the Hotel Congress, where famous criminal John Dillinger was nabbed back in 1934
Who knew?: The saguaro cacti that grow all over Tucson have an average life span of 150 years.

It’s hard to pin down residents on what exactly is so mesmerizing about this desert town, just an hour north of the Mexican border. Maybe it’s the beautiful wilderness that rings the city, including about 1.8 million acres of the Coronado National Forest, with its 12 different mountain ranges. Or maybe it’s the sweet smell of pan dulce that drifts from the Mexican bakeries. Or maybe it’s the unique way the city’s Mexican, Native American, and frontier roots have mingled to create a mosaic all its own.

Greenville, South Carolina

Vibe: Family-friendly fun, from “penny candy” to goat-cheese pizza
Population: 59,000
Median housing price: $151,080
Average commute: 19 minutes
Average number of sunny days: 220 per year
Most relaxing way to spend an afternoon: Hiking the pristine mountain woodlands of Jones Gap State Park, just 25 miles outside Greenville
Simple fun for less than $10: Grabbing a cup of coffee or an ice-cream cone at Spill the Beans
Who knew?: Home to companies such as Fluor, BMW, and Michelin, the Greenville area claims one of the highest international-investment-per-capita levels in the nation.

Back in the late 1960s downtown Greenville was withering away, suffering the same fate that wiped out thousands of Main Streets. Now, thanks to 30 years of redevelopment-including a pedestrian-friendly Main Street, a performing arts center, condos, and the stunning Liberty Bridge-what was once a desolate stretch of offices is now a vibrant town center. The genius of Greenville’s reinvention isn’t just its downtown, though, but the way the city’s center is linked to surrounding neighborhoods. Wide, walkable sidewalks make it an easy stroll for many residents, and the city has converted an abandoned rail line into a multiuse trail, linking neighborhoods, parks, and downtown.

Montpelier, Vermont

Vibe: Norman Rockwell, with a twist of politics
Population: 7,800
Median housing price: $159,060
Average commute: 22 minutes
Average number of sunny days: 157 per year
Most relaxing way to spend an afternoon: World-class skiing less than an hour away, at Stowe Simple fun for less than $10: Sampling a pastry at La Brioche Bakery & Café
Who knew?: Montpelier is the only state capital without a McDonald’s restaurant.

It may be the smallest capital city in the United States-one local official affectionately refers to the intersection of Main Street, home to City Hall, and State Street, with the capitol, as “the corner of ‘Walk’ and ‘Don’t Walk’ “-but there’s plenty to do in Montpelier. First, there’s politics, the local sport, as residents keep track of what’s going on in the legislature. (Insiders say Democrats tend to get their coffee at Capitol Grounds Café, while Republicans favor the Coffee Corner.) Then there’s the city’s active arts scene (locals say the town’s relaxed pace and eclectic crowd fuel creativity). And music festivals abound.

Logan, Utah

Vibe: Pastoral with mountain escapes
Population: 48,000
Median housing price: $143,860
Average commute: 16 minutes
Average number of sunny days: 219 per year
Most relaxing way to spend an afternoon: Wandering among the wildflowers on Riverside Trail in the Logan Valley
Simple fun for less than $10: Heading to the Caffé Ibis, a tiny roasting house, and savoring a custom-blended coffee
Who knew?: Travel writers call Logan’s Bear Lake the Caribbean of the Rockies, because of its bright turquoise color and white-sand beaches.

While Utah usually conjures up pictures of desert and rock, Logan is nestled in the heart of the green Cache Valley, a famous dairy region. It’s never lost its rural Utah appeal, with its old-fashioned Mormon Tabernacle and ultraclean city square. But however much residents may love the town, they are quick to admit they’re here mainly for the view.

Ames, Iowa

Vibe: Wholesome Americana
Population: 55,000
Median housing price: $159,270
Average commute: 17 minutes
Average number of sunny days: 202 per year
Most relaxing way to spend an afternoon: Paddling a canoe in Ada Hayden Heritage Park, where you may spot-besides hundreds of common birds-a short-eared owl or a summer tanager
Simple fun for less than $10: Touring Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University, where $7 ($6 for seniors) buys access to award-winning rose gardens and more
Who knew?: It recently ranked as the sixth-smartest city in the United States.

Ames is a gracious town-with broad lawns, leafy neighborhoods, pretty parks and ponds-and its distinctly rural flavor is the key to its urban charm. With its thrice-weekly farmers’ markets, paddling options on the Skunk River, and 55 miles of city-maintained trails for avid bikers, runners, and walkers, Ames is a place for people who like wide-open spaces.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

Decline in Home Size

The size of new single-family homes completed declined last year, dropping to a nationwide average of 2,438 square feet, according to detailed information about the characteristics of new homes completed in 2009 that was released recently by the Census Bureau.

After increasing continually for nearly three decades, the average size of single-family homes completed in the United States peaked at 2,521 square feet in 2007. It was essentially flat in 2008, then dropped in 2009, so that new single-family homes were almost 100 square feet smaller in 2009 than in 2007.

We can’t forgot about the decline in the size of new homes when the economy lapsed into recession in the early 1980s. The decline of the early 1980s turned out to be temporary, but this time the decline is related to phenomena such as an increased share of first-time home buyers, a desire to keep energy costs down, smaller amounts of equity in existing homes to roll into the next home, tighter credit standards and less focus on the investment component of buying a home. Many of these tendencies are likely to persist and continue affecting the new home market for an extended period.

Also the average square footage of new single-family homes completed is only one measure of new home size. The Census Bureau also reports average square footage in a quarterly release based on starts rather than completions, which is sometimes useful when market conditions are changing rapidly.

In keeping with their slightly smaller size, new single-family homes completed in 2009 had fewer bedrooms than previously. After increasing for almost 20 years, the proportion of single-family homes with four bedrooms or more topped out at 39% in 2005; it was 34% last year. The proportion of single-family homes with three bedrooms increased from 49% to 53% between 2005 and 2009.

New single-family homes completed last year also had fewer bathrooms than previously. The proportion of homes with three or more bathrooms was 24% last year, a decline from the peak of 28% in both 2007 and 2008. The percentage of single-family homes with two bathrooms increased from 35 to 37 last year, and the percentage with 2½ bathrooms was at 31% for the third consecutive year. The proportion of single-family homes with 1 or 1½ bathrooms has been below 10% for more than a decade.

In 1973, the first year for which the Census Bureau reports characteristics of single-family homes completed, most new single-family homes-67%-had only one story. Twenty-three percent had two or more stories, and 10% were split levels.

The proportion of one-story homes declined steadily for more than three decades, dropping to a low of 43% in 2006 and 2007. At the same time, the proportion of single-family homes with two or more stories increased, rising from 23% in 1973 to a high of 57% in 2006 (split level homes currently account for less than one percent of all single-family homes). Since 2006 the trends have been reversed, as the share of single-family homes with one-story increased to 47% last year, while the share with two or more stories dropped to 53%.

Regional Differences in Completed Single-Family Homes

The Census Bureau’s data on characteristics of completed single-family homes also showed regional differences.

In 1973, less than half of all new single-family homes completed had air conditioning; in 2009, 88% were air conditioned nationwide. Regionally, the proportion ranged from a low of 69% in the West to a high of 99% in the South. The Northeast and Midwest were at 75% and 90%, respectively.

Nationwide, 62% of new single-family homes completed in 2009 had two-car garages, and 17% had garages for three or more cars. However, there were clear regional differences. Three-car garages were found in only about 11% of homes in the Northeast and the South. In the Midwest, 30% of all homes had three-car garages, and in the West, 26%.

Regional differences were especially pronounced in the selection of exterior wall material. Nationwide, 34% of all single-family homes completed in 2009 had vinyl siding, 23% were brick, 19% were stucco and 13% had fiber cement siding.

Vinyl siding predominates in the Northeast, where it accounted for 74% of the market; wood was a distant second with a 12% market share. In the Midwest, vinyl siding accounted for 62% of the market, while wood and brick were at 15% and 11%, respectively.

Brick was the leader in the South, where it was found in 40% of new single-family homes. Twenty-eight percent of new homes in the South had vinyl siding and 13% had stucco.

The Census Bureau began reporting statistics on fiber cement siding, which is relatively new to the market, in 2005. It already accounts for 24% of the market in the West. Stucco and wood account for 52% and 15% of the market, respectively, in that region.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

For more information, visit