Yes, Millenials aspire to own a home
A recent survey of younger Americans illustrates that the goal of homeownership remains an important part of the American Dream.

The economic future of Millennials is key to the future of housing demand. A record number of individuals aged 18 to 34 years are delaying household formation as a consequence of the Great Recession. In a recent Eye on Housing blog post, this situation was referred to as the “Great Delay,” as slow wage growth and rising student loan burdens have reduced attainment of traditional goals associated with the American Dream, including marriage and homeownership.

An important research question is whether these delays represent deferrals due to economic conditions or true changes in preferences and goals.

A recent survey from the Demand Institute provides new evidence. The study surveyed 1,000 18- to 29-year-olds about current conditions and market preferences. The findings indicate that homeownership remains an important long-term goal.

Among the findings for Millennials:
  • Over the next five years, 8.3 million new Millennial households will form.
  • 74% plan to move over the next five years, with the top reason being need for better housing.
  • 64% expect to be married in five years and 55% expect to have kids.
  • 75% believe homeownership is an important long-term goal and 73% believe ownership is an excellent investment.
  • 24% currently own a home and another 60% plan to purchase.
  • 36% expect their next home to be a multifamily rental, while another 36% expect it to be a single-family owner-occupied residence.
  • 48% prefer their next home to be in the suburbs, while 38% want urban locations.
  • 88% own a car.
  • Student loans do delay homeownership (but college raises lifetime incomes).
  • 44% think it will be difficult to qualify for a mortgage.

For more details, read the survey findings from the Demand Institute.
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FHFA Index Shows Mortgage Interest Rates Flat in August

Nationally, interest rates on conventional purchase-money mortgages decreased slightly from July to August, according to several indices of new mortgage contracts.

The National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously Occupied Homes by Combined Lenders index was 4.08 percent for loans closed in late August, down 1 basis point from 4.09 percent in July.

The average interest rate on all mortgage loans was 4.09 percent, reflecting no change from July.

The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages of $417,000 or less was 4.33 percent, a decrease of 1 basis point from 4.34 in July.

The effective interest rate on all mortgage loans was 4.24 percent in August, down 1 basis point from 4.25 percent in July. The effective interest rate accounts for the addition of initial fees and charges over the life of the mortgage.

The average loan amount for all loans was $287,100 in August, down $700 from $287,800 in July.
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BAR, PREP Now Available Online
Builders who want to earn the Certified Graduate Builder (CGB) educational designation and remodelers seeking to complete the requirements for the Certified Graduate Remodeler (GGR) designation have traditionally sat for the Builder Assessment Review (BAR) or theProfessional Remodeler Experience Profile(PREP) to determine what courses they need to complete.

Now, these industry professionals can complete these assessments online: at a lower cost and with a quicker turnaround time.

While builders and remodelers had often enjoyed the networking opportunities that are part and parcel of the BAR and PREP, the logistics were too daunting for too many potential candidates: Travel costs and time away from work add up and prevented these professionals from benefiting from these advanced designations.

The new online assessment tools remove those barriers ? and add incentives, including:
  • A significantly shorter results turnaround time: 24 hours instead of the current 4-6 weeks.
  • Lower cost: NAHB members can take either the BAR or the PREP for $95 ? less than half what the in-person class cost.
Students have the option to take the BAR and PREP online or in person through Dec. 31. However, only the online version of these assessments will be available to students next year, effective Jan. 1, 2015.
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Big Changes Coming for Water Heater Efficiency. Ready?
Home builders and remodelers who install large capacity water heaters (greater than 55 gallons) need to be aware that revised federal energy standards that go into effect in April 2015 are expected to have a significant impact on space requirements for these water heaters and on the way they are installed.

Smaller water heaters must also comply with the increased energy-efficiency requirements and are expected to be more costly as a result. However, they are not expected to have additional space and/or venting requirements like the larger capacity units.

The revised standard was imposed by the Department of Energy and will go into effect following a five-year transition period to allow manufacturers to gear up for production of the more efficient units. As of April 2015, manufacturers will no longer be allowed to construct water heaters not meeting the new requirements, but builders and remodelers will still be able to install the existing stock.

Water heaters that comply with the new energy-efficiency standard are expected to be more costly and bulkier than current models. In particular, some current models of large capacity electric water heaters may no longer be available because the higher energy factor standards will require heat pump water heater technology. This new technology requires the water heater to be installed in an area with sufficient household air volume for heat exchange.

Builders and remodelers whose projects include installation of large capacity gas-fired water heaters must accommodate the positive pressure venting needs of higher efficiency gas- or propane-fired units during installation. And remodelers and home owners replacing a water heater may also find that these bulkier large capacity water heaters are too large to fit into the existing space and/or require new exhaust venting. According to DOE’s market assessment, about 4 percent of gas-fired storage water heater shipments and about 9 percent of electric storage water heater shipments fall into the large-volume water heater category.

In preparation for the new energy-efficiency standard, builders and remodelers who routinely install large capacity water heaters are encouraged to reach out to manufacturers for details about availability and space and venting requirements. NAHB will continue to follow this issue and will provide members with information about installation and potential alternatives to the larger capacity units as it becomes available.

To read more about changes to efficiency standards for water heaters, click here.
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The Typical American Subdivision
A landmark survey conducted by your Home Builders Association provides a unique look at a typical residential subdivision being built today. The results were recently published as a Special Study in HousingEconomics.com.

For subdivisions of single-family detached homes, the figures show:
  • Median size: 22 acres.
  • Median number of housing units: 48.
  • Median gross density: 2.1 units per acre.
  • 4 percent include retail space.
  • 4 percent include other (non-retail) commercial space.
The data come from a survey sent to 2,042 land developers. A total of 266 developers responded (a 13 percent response rate). Eighty-eight of them provided information on one of their development projects, 56 provided information on two, and 111 provided information on three projects. Overall, the sample contains data on 533 development projects, the vast majority of which meet a commonly used criterion for residential subdivision (at least four housing units).

Not surprisingly, the typical characteristics vary quite a bit depending on the type of subdivision. This chart shows how the number of homes per subdivision varies across six basic types.

To establish a consistent, working concept of a metropolitan area, the survey provided a brief summary of the Office of Management and Budget definition: a densely settled urban area and surrounding counties tied to the urban area by frequent commuting. In terms of number of housing units, subdivisions inside and outside of metropolitan areas are quite similar. The median number of housing units in subdivisions built inside metro areas is 59, and the median outside is 63.

The survey also collected information on the type of housing built in the subdivision: single-family detached, townhomes, multifamily or some mix of these types. The “mixed” subdivisions contain every possible combination of housing types ? including all three in the same subdivision ? and tend to be relatively large. The median in mixed subdivisions is 291 housing units, compared to 48 in single-family-only, 56 in townhome-only, and 86 in multifamily-only subdivisions.

For additional details, including a separate profile for each of the six basic subdivision types, consult the full study at NAHB.org.

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FHFA: Foreclosure Preventions Total Nearly 3.3 Million; Delinquencies Down In Second Quarter
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today released a report showing that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac completed approximately 80,000 foreclosure prevention actions in the second quarter, bringing the total to nearly 3.3 million since the start of the conservatorships in September 2008. These measures have helped about 2.7 million borrowers stay in their homes, including nearly 1.7 million who received permanent loan modifications.

Further detail can be found in FHFA’s quarterly Foreclosure Prevention Report, which also includes data on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac home retention actions, delinquency data and real-estate owned (REO) inventory. FHFA publishes the report data in an online, interactive Borrower Assistance Map accessible through FHFA.gov.

Also noted in the quarterly report:
  • The number of 60+ days delinquent loans declined 5 percent to the lowest level since the start of conservatorships.
  • The serious delinquency rate fell to 2.1 percent at the end of the second quarter compared with 6.2 percent for Federal Housing Administration loans, 3.4 percent for Veterans Affairs loans and 4.8 percent for all loans.
  • As of June 30, 2014, about 13 percent of loans modified in the second quarter of 2013 had missed two or more payments, one year after modification.
  • Approximately 37 percent of all permanent loan modifications helped to reduce homeowners' monthly payments by more than 30 percent in the second quarter.
  • Approximately 25 percent of borrowers who received permanent loan modifications in the second quarter had portions of their mortgage balance forborne.
  • Approximately 14,500 short sales and deeds-in-lieu were completed in the second quarter, bringing the total to more than 581,400 since the start of the conservatorships.
  • Third-party sales and foreclosure sales fell 10 percent to 42,800 while foreclosure starts increased slightly in the second quarter.
  • The REO inventory of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac declined 10 percent during the quarter to approximately 131,500, as property dispositions outpaced property acquisitions.
 To read the full foreclosure prevention report at FHFA.gov, click here.
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New Member Reception and Meet the Board THIS Thursday!
New Member Reception sponsored by PestBan
Thursday, September 25th at 8 a.m.
The HBA of Greenville would like to officially welcome you, please join us for new member orientation on Thursday, September 25th beginning at 8 a.m. at the HBA office. The reception will start with a short meeting on what the HBA of Greenville is about and how you can get the most out of your membership and get involved. After which, please stay for a reception with the board of directors and current members of the HBA.
We hope that you will join us!
For more information or to register for this event please contact the HBA office (864) 254-0133.

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Call To Action: Waters of the US
On September 9, 2014 the U.S. House passed H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, by a vote of 262 to 152. H.R. 5078 will halt the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers proposed rule on “waters of the U.S.” and force the agencies to go back to the drawing board to craft a balanced rule that respects both congressional intent and Supreme Court precedent. This legislation is a key priority of the Home Builders Association.

Your Home Builders Association launched a broad-based grassroots call to action for the bill and designated a vote in support of H.R. 5078 as a KEY VOTE. Following this strong, bipartisan vote, your HBA is turning our attention to the Senate to urge the chamber to consider the House-passed bill.

We ask that every member reach out to our Senators and request that they move to pass H.R. 5078. We need to keep the pressure up, especially in light of the upcoming elections. Please see the attached a letter for your use, please feel free to make changes to reflect your specific concerns.
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Lots of Fun at this Years Chili and Politics Event last Thursday!
The rain and bad weather held out for The Chili and Politics event held this past Thursday evening. It was a great event with with great food and fun. While the judges of the Cook- Off had a hard decision to make the winners of the Best Chili and Dessert contest are as follows:
1st Place Chili- "OOO Wee"- GBS Building Supply
2nd Place Chili- "Wild Chicken Chili"- Howard Custom Builders
3rd Place Chili- "Smokin Hot"- The Cook's Station
Best Dessert was awarded to The Cook's Station for their Sweet Potato Bread Pudding.

There were also some great prizes including a  KBRS Tileable Shower worth over $700, eligible for Builder or Remodeler, won by Trey Cole of Trey Cole Design Group. A Cook's Station gift basket went to Alan Boone of Advanced Renovations, and Bill Fitz of Gateway Supply won the raffle for some cold hard cash. 
The HBA of Greenville would like to thank our event sponsors for helping to make this event a success!

Enjoying some Oysters


GBS Team with their 1st Place Chili.


Oyster Roast courtesy of Clark's 









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Todd Usher featured by NAHB
We told you last week that Todd Usher is mentoring construction students at Clemson University.  He serves as the HBA's professional adviser to the NAHB Student Chapter at Clemson and also serves as a member of the Industry Advisory Board for Clemson's Construction Science and Management program.

Read last week's article by clicking here.

This week NAHB featured Todd's efforts on NAHBNow.com, the national blog.  Among Todd's efforts is to mentor the competition team at Clemson that will be competing in the student competition at the International Builders Show.   

“The Residential Construction Management Competition provides the most real-world experience these students are likely to have prior to graduation,” said Usher, who is using his green building experience ( he was named NAHB Green Advocate of the Year in 2011) to prep the Clemson team on sustainable construction methods and materials. “It’s a hands-on opportunity to put theory into practice,” he said.

Having industry professionals mentor the Clemson team takes students well beyond their reference books, said Jason Lucas, assistant professor in Clemson’s department of Construction Science and Management.

“Having Todd come in and discuss his experiences provides students with a current market view and practical application of the theories we discuss in class,” Lucas says. “By going over the National Green Building Standard and ICC 700 worksheet, he took something that was abstract to them and put it into practical terms. This gives the students a real head start getting into the RCMC project.”


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Upstate: a luxury home market?
According to the morereport, Greenville/Spartanburg is a strong market for luxury homes.  Check out these statistics of home closings by price range:
  • July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014: 34 homes closed for more than $1 million
  • July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014: 82 homes closed for $750,000 to $999,999
  • July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013: 24 homes closed for more than $1 million
  • July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013: 49 homes closed for $750,000 to $999,999
These numbers are supported by The Market Edge, which found that 18 percent of all homes permitted in the Upstate were over 4,000 square feet in size or more than $400,000 in permitted value.  By comparison, Asheville is similar at about 19 percent, Charlotte is 16 percent, Raleigh is 22 percent, and Columbia is 13 percent.

Sources: morereport.com and themarketedge.com
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SEER Standard for Residential HVAC Standards Will Change in 2015
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) minimum efficiency standards for residential HVAC systems will change in January.  The change specifically affects Southern states, including South Carolina.  For Southern states, the new standard applies to all systems while in Northern states a split system will still be allowed at 13 SEER.

Effective January 1, 2015, manufacturers will only manufacture 14 SEER or higher for use in Southern states.  Existing inventory of 13 SEER systems may still be installed as long as they are available on the market.

According to an analysis of 13 SEER and 14 SEER systems currently available on the market, the new standard will add about $200 to $300, depending on the size of the system, to the cost of a new HVAC system, plus installation costs.  However, cost for the higher-efficiency systems should ease over time.

The current minimum standard, 13 SEER, was set in 2006 when.  Prior to that the minimum standard was 10 SEER.

To read more about the minimum efficiency standards at energy.gov, click here.
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Members Save $ on your IBS registration in September

September is the only chance for members to take advantage of the best pricing on registration to the building industry’s biggest event! And this year, an IBS expo pass also gives access to the four other exhibit floors of Design & Construction Week? ? KBIS, IWCE, Las Vegas Market and TISE.

Top 4 reasons to register in September:
  1. FREE IBS expo pass ? See more than 500,000 net square feet of exhibits and 1,300 manufacturers and suppliers of the latest and most in-demand products and services.
  2. Save $100 off IBS full registration ? IBS education is in demand! The number of attendees getting full registrations (with access to all education sessions) has grown 40% over the past two years and speaker ratings are at an all-time high! With more than 100+ education sessions in 10 tracks attendees are sure to gain the knowledge to improve their business.
  3. HBA housing block ? Take advantage of great hotel properties at discounted rates and complimentary shuttle service to/from the Las Vegas Convention Center.
  4. Spouse registration ? Registration for spouses is FREE during the month of September!
Register at BuildersShow.com/september
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Builder Tailgate Event! Friday, September 19th 5-9pm at the Southern Home and Garden Show!



This event is open to all HBA of Greenville Members. Please call the HBA office at 864-254-0133 for more information.

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GBS' Nick Campbell is a Best and Brightest 35 and Under
Nick Campbell
Greenville Business Magazine has named Nick Campbell, Director of Sales at GBS Building Supply, one of its 36 Best and Brightest 35 and Under.  To read Nick's profile, click here and scroll to page 54.
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Dr. David Crowe Presents the Current State of the Housing Market
Dr. David Crowe
In a special edition of Housing Now, Dr. David Crowe discusses the current state of the housing market, and his current forecast for 2015.

Click here to watch Dr. Crowe's update.

Dr. Crowe is projecting the following for 2015:
  • Remodeling: 3.2 percent increase over 2014, which will fall 2 percent over 2013.
  • Multifamily: Up 3 percent in 2015 following a 14 percent jump in 2014.
  • Single Family: Up 35 percent in 2015 following a 5 percent increase in 2014.
Crowe Comments that Single Family is still just a little more than half recovered in terms of a level he considers normal. However, he projects South Carolina to be in the top 20 percent of states at the end of 2015, and above historically normal levels.
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Todd Usher will mentor Clemson's NAHB Competition Team
Todd Usher
Todd Usher is helping a team of seven Clemson University students prepare for the National Association of Home Builders’ Student Chapters Residential Construction Management Competition (RCMC).

The students ? all juniors and seniors in Clemson’s Construction Science and Management program ? are competing with peers from across the country as they apply skills learned in the classroom to a real-world construction project. Each team receives a problem statement outlining an actual project for which they must produce working drawings, schedules, budgets, project management, sustainability standards, sales and marketing, and pricing/financial analysis; then, they must defend their overall proposal to a group of construction company executives.

“The Residential Construction Management Competition provides the most real-world experience these students are likely to have prior to graduation,” says Usher, president of Addison Homes, who prepped the Clemson team on sustainable construction methods and materials. “It’s a hands-on opportunity to put theory into practice.”

Having industry professionals mentor the Clemson team takes students well beyond their reference books, says Jason Lucas, assistant professor in Clemson’s department of Construction Science and Management.

“Having Todd come in and discuss his experiences provides students with a current market view and practical application of the theories we discuss in class,” Lucas says. “By going over the National Green Building Standard and ICC 700 worksheet, he took something that was abstract to them and put it into practical terms. This gives the students a real headstart getting into the RCMC project.”

The Clemson RCMC team received their problem statement Monday, Sept. 8, and will defend their proposal in front of judges ? and an audience ? during the International Builders’ Show in January in Las Vegas.
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BBB To Offer Social Media Seminars on September 9th
Whether you are just starting to figure out social media, or you are looking to improve your current strategy, we have just what you need! Join us for a day of social media seminars, or pick and choose just the sessions you would like to attend. From social media basics and strategy to understanding content and blogging, Carol Morgan and Mitch Levinson, managing partners at mRELEVANCE, LLC, will provide you with the expertise and tools you need to get your business noticed in today’s social media world.

On September 9th there will be three seminar opportunities:

10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Social Media Lab
Social Media Lab is a hands-on workshop designed to train professionals on how to effectively use social media to enhance their online reputation, reach existing customers and build relationships with target audiences. This lab covers the “how to basics” of Facebook, Twitter and blogging. Get started with the right sites and strategy with tips and insight.

12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Luncheon
He Said, She Said.
Get the answers to the most commonly asked questions related to online marketing from two different perspectives in He Said, She Said. Mitch answers questions from the perspective of how to improve your search engine optimization, while Carol focuses on how to create great content that attracts and engages readers on your blog and social media sites.

2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
10 Tips to Rev Up Your Social Media Program
Learn how these valuable, actionable tips will help accelerate your social media program by taking it to the next level. Whether you just launched a social media program or already have one and are looking for ways to improve it, this fun, interactive session will give you the horsepower you need to kick your program into high gear.

HBA members can pick the sessions they would like to attend for $30 each ($40 for the luncheon seminar), or attend all three for $100.

To register, visit Upstatesc.BBB.org or call 864-242-6905.

About the Presenters
Mitch Levinson and Carol Morgan
Carol Morgan and Mitch Levinson are partners in mRelevance, LLC, a real estate marketing firm with offices in Chicago and Atlanta.

Carol Morgan focuses on marketing strategy and integrating public relations, social media, content and creative to tell engaging stories for clients that garner measurable traffic. Carol is the author of Social Media 3.0, published by BuildersBooks.com, and creator of the nationally-ranked and award-winning AtlantaRealEstateForum.com, Atlanta’s popular real estate blog. She is the 2014 Chair of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Professional Women in Building Council and a member of NAHB’s Public Affairs committee.

Mitch Levinson is the author of “Internet Marketing: The Key to Increased New Home Sales.” An Internet marketing expert with proficiency in search engine optimization, website development, email marketing, social media and CRM consulting services, Mitch works to make all things digital more
effective for clients. He is chair of the National Association of Home Builders Institute of Residential Marketing and a Director of the National Sales and Marketing Council.
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OSHA Training Opportunity
The Home Builders Association of Charleston will host a two-day OSHA training course on September 9-10 at the Charleston Area Convention Center.

Attending members will learn to:
  • Write and maintain an effective safety program
  • Understand the effect of job site safety on insurance premiums
  • Anticipate what to expect from an OSHA inspection, including your rights
  • Comply with OSHA standards for fall protection, electrical, PPE, and more
  • Save money by avoiding fines
  • Earn a course completion card from Federal OSHA
Participants will become Fall Protection Certified and will have the opportunity to reduce their premiums with Builders Mutual Insurance Company.

To register, visit HBACharleston.com or call 843-572-1414.  The course fee is $35. The deadline to register is September 5.
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FHFA House Price Index Shows Gains for Twelve Consecutive Quarters
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced today that U.S. house prices rose 0.8 percent in the second quarter of 2014, according to its purchase-only, seasonally adjusted House Price Index (HPI). This is the twelfth consecutive quarterly price increase in the HPI.












The complete report can be downloaded by clicking here.

The FHFA HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Compared with last year, house prices rose
5.2 percent from the second quarter of 2013 to the second quarter of 2014. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for June was up 0.4 percent from May, marking seven consecutive monthly increases.

“The extraordinary price appreciation observed over the last few spring seasons was not evident in the second quarter of this year. However, house price appreciation for the nation as a whole remained positive,” said FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. “FHFA’s data indicate that house price appreciation in the quarter was near or below the baseline rate of inflation in most states.”

FHFA’s expanded-data house price index, a metric that adds transaction information from county recorder offices and the Federal Housing Administration to the HPI data sample, rose 1.3 percent over the prior quarter. Over the last year, that index is up 6.2 percent. For individual states, price changes reflected in the expanded-data measure and the traditional purchase-only HPI are compared on pages 17-19 of this report.

Significant Findings
  • The seasonally adjusted, purchase-only HPI rose in 40 states during the second quarter of 2014, down from 42 states and the District of Columbia during the first quarter of 2014. The top annual appreciation was in: 1) Nevada, 2) California, 3) District of Columbia, 4) North Dakota, and 5) Arizona.
  • Of the nine census divisions, the Pacific division experienced the strongest increase in the second quarter, posting a 1.3 percent quarterly increase and a 9.8 percent increase since last year. House prices were weakest in the East South Central division, where prices decreased 0.1 percent from the prior quarter.
  • As measured with purchase-only indexes for the 100 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S., second quarter price increases were greatest in the Winston-Salem, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) where prices increased by 4.6 percent. Prices were weakest in the Birmingham-Hoover, AL MSA, where they fell 4.9 percent. Positive quarterly appreciation was recorded in 74 of the 100 MSAs.
  • The monthly seasonally adjusted, purchase-only index for the U.S. has increased for seven consecutive months and 23 of the last 24 months (it decreased in November 2013).
  • The Pacific and Mountain census divisions—the two divisions that saw the greatest price increases last quarter—continued to decelerate.
FHFA’s “distress-free” house price indexes, which are published for 12 large metropolitan areas (page 32), have recently reported lower quarterly appreciation than FHFA’s traditional purchase-only indexes. In half of the areas covered, the series—which removes short sales and sales of bank-owned properties—shows lower appreciation over the last quarter than the purchase-only series. During the last year, the share of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages financing distressed sales has fallen in all but two areas covered by the FHFA indexes.

The complete list of state appreciation rates is on pages 14-15. The list of metropolitan area appreciation rates computed in a purchase-only series is on pages 29-31. Appreciation rates for the all-transactions metropolitan area indexes are on pages 35-48.

Background
FHFA’s purchase-only and all-transactions HPI track average house price changes in either repeat sales or refinancings on the same single-family properties. The purchase-only index is based on more than 7 million repeat sales transactions, while the all-transactions index includes more than 51 million repeat transactions. Both indexes are based on data obtained from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for mortgages originated over the past 39 years.
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City of Greenville Infill Ordinance Receives Final Approval
Greenville City Council gave final approval to the much discussed Residential Infill Ordinance.  The ordinance is effective August 11, 2014.

The Infill Ordinance ordains the following:
  • Garages, carports, and driveways: must be constructed to be in character with the surrounding street and neighborhood.  New subdivisions may establish their own character, but the character of existing developments is being protected.  Generally, garages that protrude in front of the house on a street that does not have "snout" garages will not be allowed.  In addition, parking areas and circular driveways in front of homes will not be allowed unless there is a compelling reason to do so, like the house is on a busy street for example, or neighboring houses have parking in the front yard.
  • Stormwater: impervious surfaces on a single-family lot will be limited to 60 percent of the lot.  The portion of the lot covered by buildings was already limited to 40 percent of the lot.  The new ordinance limits additional impervious surfaces to another 20 percent, for a total of 60 percent.  The 60 percent threshold can be exceed, but the project will require stormwater mitigation specific to the individual lot.  Additional requirements also are imposed for "infill" subdivisions including a setback standard and character requirements for detention ponds.
  • Tree protection and replacement: The requirement for a tree survey for single-family residential development has been deleted. Instead, inclusive of all required trees (street trees), one canopy tree will be required for each 3,000 square fee of lot area, or portion thereof, excluding the footprint of the building.  Credit will be given, two-for-one, for each existing canopy tree saved if it is 6 inches or larger.  Planted trees must be a minimum of 2-1/2 inch caliper and maybe planted anywhere on the lot except where otherwise required (street trees).
  • The maximum height of a dwelling in R6 and R9 has been reduced to 35 feet measured to the centerline of the roof.  The maximum height remains 40 feet in all other districts.
 The objective of this ordinance is to preserve the character of existing neighborhoods, many of which are redeveloping, while not impacting the economic viability of infill activities.  "While the ordinance may limit consumer choice, it should succeed in insuring that infill activity remains an economically viable option for home buyers and home builders," Michael Dey, Executive Vice President of the Home Builders Association of Greenville, said.

Representing housing-related interests on the 17-member task force were:
  • Thomas Croft, Architect
  • John Edwards, Architect
  • David Crigler, Realtor and HBA member
  • Amanda Jones, Realtor and HBA member
  • Michael Dey, HBA of Greenville
  • Bruce Felton, Home Builder and HBA member
  • Matt Ruth, Remodeler and HBA member
  • Trey Cole, Remodeler and HBA member
The task force also included five representatives from neighborhood associations, three members of City Council, and a member of the Planning Commission.

To read the Residential Infill Development Ordinance, visit HBAofGreenville.com/public-policy-papers.php.
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Army Corps: Walnut Trees are a Wetland Species

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a number of ways to determine whether a particular piece of property should be classified as a wetland, and potentially subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act.

One of them is to see what sorts of grasses, sedges, trees and other vegetation is growing on the property ? and while cattails might be a dead giveaway, other plants might not seem so obvious.

But when the Corps decides that a walnut tree native to the hills of arid Southern California is a sign of a wetland, according to the National Wetlands Plant List, something’s a little haywire.

That’s why, with the help of expert consulting botanists, your Home Builders Association questioned the Corps’ determination. The good news? The association found out in May that its challenge, along with a similar request to change the rating for Japanese honeysuckle in other parts of the country, had been successful. The bad news? There are 8,055 challenges to go.

And unlike most other regulatory changes, the Corps can update the Plant List without going through the usual public notice and comment period. The list is updated at the Corps’ discretion and the changes appear online.

“This is a problem,” said NAHB Environmental Issues Committee Chair Charles “Chuck” Ellison, a builder in the Washington D.C. area and Delaware. “We need to know whether the decision to put a plant on the list is based on sound science. The process must be transparent.”

The committee is seeking the help of members whose projects have run afoul of the Plant List and will discuss its options during the National Association of Home Builders Fall Board of Directors meeting in Phoenix Sept. 3-6. For additional information, talk to Owen McDonough at 202-266-8662 or call Michael Dey at 864-254-0133.
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NAHB: To Rent or Buy is Not an Either/Or Decision
A recent article in U.S. News & World Report by NAHB economist Robert Dietz shows why housing policy should support both home owners and renters. View the summary below.

Though public opinion polling indicates that most renters want to become home owners, the economic fallout from the Great Recession has produced a surge in rental demand and sluggish demand for homeownership, particularly among first-time buyers. The result has been a declining homeownership rate (64.8% for the second quarter of 2014), even as other housing indicators have improved.

While achieving ownership has been delayed for many younger families, over the last few years it has become relatively more common to hear pundits argue that as a society we should pull back our support for homeownership. Such discussions typically involve income and other economic-based descriptions of home owners and renters as if these groups or people were distinct and fixed classes.

The Circle of Homeownership
These contrasts are misleading. The lifecycle of homeownership has important consequences when examining differences between home owners and renters. Using government data and taking several factors into consideration ? age, marital status, income, children, space requirements and structure ? it becomes clear that most people will be renters and home owners during different stages of their lives.

First, home owners as a group are typically older than renters. Census data shows that the number of renters exceeds home owners for age groups younger than 35 but that the homeownership rate increases with age, rising from 59% for those in the 35-to-44 age bracket and equaling or exceeding 70% for those aged 45 to 84 years.


This makes sense given the typical pattern of an individual leaving school, renting in order to accumulate savings, and then purchasing a first home.

Since home owners as a group tend to be older, they also have higher incomes. The data reveal that the median household income of renters was $31,888 in 2012, compared to $65,514 for home owners. A considerable part of this income difference is due to age.

And because homeowners tend to be older, they are also more likely to be married. According to the Census data, 60% of home owners are married couples, compared to only 27% of renters.

Married couples are also more likely to have children present in the home, and therefore need more room and space. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Census data reveals that 84% of the nation’s single-family homes are comprised of home owners while multifamily housing tends to be renter dominated.

One-Size Policy Does Not Fit All
All of these factors produce the local and regional variations in homeownership across the nation. For example, urban dominated New York has the lowest homeownership rate among states at 54% (and the District of Columbia is lower still at 42%), while states with older populations in the Northeast and Midwest have higher homeownership rates.

These data highlight that policy debates should not frame renters and home owners as distinct classes. Support for the development of rental housing is an important social goal to maintain safe, affordable and decent housing for those for whom renting is the best choice. And preserving our nation’s commitment to homeownership is needed given the well-documented social and private benefits that homeownership produces for families and communities.

It would be a mistake to weaken policy support for either form of housing, as the result would be diminished housing policy overall.

View the full U.S. News & World Report story.


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HBA Members Saved More than $7.2 Million Last Year
One of the perks of being a HBA member is an open door to exclusive discounts on a variety of products and services that can benefit your business, employees and family.

In the past year, members have saved more than $7.2 million through Member Advantage, which offers an easy way to reduce expenses, maximize profits and increase efficiency.

Major companies participating in the Member Advantage program include:
  • General Motors. Members can receive $500 off the purchase of most Buick, Chevrolet and GMC vehicles and business owners can receive up to $1,000 off select vehicles and may qualify for additional incentives. Visit nahb.org/ma to learn more.
  • Dell. Members can save up to 30% off top of the line Dell computers. For more details, visit www.dell.com/nahb or call 1-800-695-8133 and mention NAHB.
  • Geico. Exclusive discounts on auto and home insurance for members can be yours by visiting www.geico.com/disc/nahb or calling 1-800-368-2734 and mentioning NAHB for a free quote.
  • UPS. UPS discounts of up to 36% are available to members on a broad portfolio of shipping services, including air letters and packages, ground shipments, international imports and exports. Savings begin at 70% on UPS freight shipments over 150 pounds. Visit http://www.1800members.com/NAHB or call 1-800-MEMBERS (1-800-636-2377) for more information.
Visit nahb.org/ma for the most up-to-date information about which companies are offering discounts as well as detailed information on how to access the savings
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GSA Business: SC house flipping slows
According to a report by GSA Business, house flipping in South Carolina has slowed, dropping from 5.3 percent of total sales in the first quarter of 2014 to 4.5 percent in the second quarter.

Flipping is defined as being sold twice in the same 12 month period. 

In the Upstate, in Greenville 4.1 percent of all house sales were flips, down 42 percent.  Spartanburg was higher at 4.9 percent, but still down 13 percent.  And in Anderson, 5.1 percent of houses sold were flips, up 26 percent.  Pickens County also saw a rise in flips to 4.6 percent, a 47 percent jump.

Read the complete report at GSA Business by clicking here.
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