Warren Buffett to Offer a New Spin on Modular Construction
Kanebridge News
    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,516,817 (-0.06%)       Melbourne $971,359 (-1.00%)       Brisbane $819,969 (+2.77%)       Adelaide $731,547 (+1.72%)       Perth $621,459 (+0.34%)       Hobart $751,359 (-0.46%)       Darwin $633,554 (-4.02%)       Canberra $1,005,229 (+2.77%)       National $966,406 (+0.40%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $700,089 (-0.30%)       Melbourne $470,277 (-0.26%)       Brisbane $404,718 (+2.58%)       Adelaide $332,602 (+1.44%)       Perth $348,181 (-0.09%)       Hobart $551,005 (+2.68%)       Darwin $355,689 (-3.55%)       Canberra $477,440 (+4.12%)       National $484,891 (+0.89%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,451 (-507)       Melbourne 12,654 (-279)       Brisbane 9,158 (+847)       Adelaide 2,765 (-40)       Perth 9,974 (+39)       Hobart 595 (+36)       Darwin 247 (-1)       Canberra 666 (-49)       National 44,510 (+46)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,895 (+164)       Melbourne 8,149 (-24)       Brisbane 2,260 (+33)       Adelaide 649 (+5)       Perth 2,489 (-21)       Hobart 101 (-3)           Canberra 430 (+13)       National 23,351 (+167)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $630 $0       Melbourne $470 $0       Brisbane $460 ($0)       Adelaide $495 (+$5)       Perth $500 ($0)       Hobart $550 $0       Darwin $600 ($0)       Canberra $700 ($0)       National $562 (+$)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $540 (+$10)       Melbourne $410 (+$2)       Brisbane $460 (+$10)       Adelaide $380 $0       Perth $440 (-$10)       Hobart $450 $0       Darwin $500 ($0)       Canberra $550 $0       National $473 (+$2)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,470 (-50)       Melbourne 7,404 (-70)       Brisbane 1,986 (-122)       Adelaide 875 (-29)       Perth 1,838 (-38)       Hobart 254 (+18)       Darwin 70 (-3)       Canberra 388 (+17)       National 18,285 (-277)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,652 (+58)       Melbourne 9,001 (-180)       Brisbane 1,567Brisbane 1,679 (-62)       Adelaide 403 (+4)       Perth 1,050 (-21)       Hobart 87 (+1)       Darwin 131 (-10)       Canberra 453 (+43)       National 23,344 (-167)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.16% (↑)      Melbourne 2.52% (↑)        Brisbane 2.92% (↓)       Adelaide 3.52% (↓)       Perth 4.18% (↓)     Hobart 3.81% (↑)      Darwin 4.92% (↑)        Canberra 3.62% (↓)       National 3.03% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 4.01% (↑)      Melbourne 4.53% (↑)        Brisbane 5.91% (↓)       Adelaide 5.94% (↓)       Perth 6.57% (↓)       Hobart 4.25% (↓)     Darwin 7.31% (↑)        Canberra 5.99% (↓)       National 5.07% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND         Sydney 1.5% (↓)       Melbourne 1.9% (↓)       Brisbane 0.6% (↓)       Adelaide 0.5% (↓)       Perth 1.0% (↓)     Hobart 0.8% (↑)        Darwin 0.9% (↓)       Canberra 0.6% (↓)     National 1.2%        National 1.2% (↓)            UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND         Sydney 2.3%ey 2.4% (↓)       Melbourne 3.0% (↓)       Brisbane 1.3% (↓)       Adelaide 0.7% (↓)     Perth 1.3% (↑)        Hobart 1.2% (↓)     Darwin 1.1% (↑)        Canberra 1.6% (↓)     National 2.1%       National 2.1% (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 31.2 (↓)       Melbourne 30.9 (↓)       Brisbane 35.7 (↓)       Adelaide 27.6 (↓)       Perth 40.5 (↓)       Hobart 30.2 (↓)       Darwin 27.1 (↓)     Canberra 28.1 (↑)        National 31.4 (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 33.7 (↓)       Melbourne 32.6 (↓)       Brisbane 34.8 (↓)       Adelaide 29.5 (↓)       Perth 46.6 (↓)       Hobart 27.4 (↓)       Darwin 38.2 (↓)       Canberra 30.2 (↓)       National 34.1 (↓)           
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Warren Buffett to Offer a New Spin on Modular Construction

A startup owned by Berkshire Hathaway aims to make the construction industry more like car manufacturing.

By Konrad Putzier
Thu, May 20, 2021Grey Clock 2 min

A startup owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. aims to shake up the construction industry by making it more like car manufacturing.

MiTek Inc., a Missouri-based construction-technology company, is launching a new modular building venture with New York City-based architect Danny Forster & Architecture. The company plans to build entire rooms for hotels and apartment buildings in factories, and then send them to a construction site to be stacked on top of each other.

MiTek has more than 6,000 employees and sells building components, construction software and services like engineering. The company said it is investing tens of millions of dollars in the modular venture, and plans to start working on its first projects early next year.

Modular construction isn’t new, but companies have struggled to be profitable. Transporting entire rooms to construction sites can be expensive, and some finished buildings have suffered from leaky facades.

Other efforts to streamline the construction process have also had issues. Katerra Inc., a Silicon Valley-based startup, has been looking to move a bigger part of construction work to factories and become a one-stop shop that cuts out middlemen like plumbers and architects. But it has struggled under this model, and its main backer, SoftBank Group Corp., had to bail it out.

MiTek looks to modernize modular construction by requiring assembly by general contractors. Instead of building entire rooms in a factory and driving them to a construction site on a flatbed truck, MiTek wants to ship kits of manufactured building parts along with instructions.

General contractors would then construct rooms from these parts, which would include a steel cage forming the structural support for the room, in a warehouse or other type of industrial building near the construction site.

Shipping the parts, rather than entire rooms, keeps transportation costs low and allows MiTek to supply the country from its factory in Lebanon, Pa., said Todd Ullom, the company’s vice president of modular building solutions.

That companies continue to invest in modular construction despite the challenges speaks to the business model’s promise, proponents say. Construction is a massive industry, plagued by rising costs and inefficiencies. Anyone who manages to automate it the way Henry Ford once changed car manufacturing stands to make a fortune, some industry observers say.

“How come an entire industry is operating on mid-to-late-20th-century mode when we’re a quarter of the way, almost, into the 21st century?” said Barry LePatner, a New York-based construction attorney. “It drives me crazy.”

MiTek’s approach brings its own challenges. Relying on customers to assemble rooms based on written instructions can be tricky. Many general contractors are resistant to change, which could lead to friction and mistakes.

Mr. Ullom, who worked as a general contractor for more than 30 years, said relying on a single supplier instead of numerous subcontractors reduces risk, and the instructions are simple to follow. He said MiTek would offer on-site training.

MiTek also plans to automate much of its 225,000-square-foot factory, for example by using robotic welders, not unlike how auto makers assemble cars. Architect Danny Forster’s firm has designed what could become the world’s tallest modular hotel, a planned 26-story building for Manhattan. He said other modular-construction companies moved work from building sites into factories but failed to make it faster or more efficient.

“A lot of times it has been bringing the chaos of the construction site and just putting a roof over it,” he said.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: May 18, 2021.

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New research from Knight Frank’s International Waterfront Index shows waterfront properties are costing more than double their inland counterparts in Sydney while in Melbourne waterside properties attract a 40% premium.

Australia’s coastline attracts some of the highest waterfront premiums in the world with Sydney topping the index — an average premium of 121% — compared to an equivalent home set away from the water.

Auckland ranked second on the list of 17 international locations — a premium of 76%. The list saw Gold Coast (71%), Perth (69%) and the Cap d’Antibes (59%) on the French Riviera round out the top 5.

Australia continued to feature prominently in the research with Brisbane’s waterfront premium coming in at 55%, with Melbourne also in the top 10 at 39%.

According to Knight Frank Australia’s head of residential research, Michelle Ciesielski, there has always been strong appetite for Sydney’s waterfront homes.

Australia’s luxury residential market has advanced, it lacks the depth of prestige markets in more established global cities said Cieselski.

“As a result, our Australian cities can achieve a significantly higher premium on the waterfront compared to a similar property inland without access to, or a view of, water,” she said.

“Also, Australia is known for its balmy outdoor lifestyle, so many buyers in this super-prime space are willing to pay a premium to secure the ideal position along the waterfront.”

The data also suggests that beachfront homes were most desirable, commanding a premium of 63% compared to harbour locations fetching 62% premium and coastal homes with a 40% premium.