2014 Bridge Awards Entry Packets Available!
As a way of recognizing the best craftsmanship and professionalism in the industry, The Home Builders Association would like to present the Second Annual Bridge Awards sponsored by GBS Building Supply. This Awards ceremony will recognize the best and brightest of the categories, outlined ...click here 
Entries will be judged February 2015 and the winners will be recognized at the 2014 Bridge Awards Ceremony on March 19, 2015. Don't miss your opportunity to showcase the craftsmanship and professionalism you put into your projects, enter today!  


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SMC Education panel event- Constructing the Builder/ Realtor Relationship on January 15th - cancelled.
Please note that the SMC Education Panel Event- Constructing the Builder/ Realtor Relationship, sponsored and hosted by Jeff Lynch Appliance and TV Center on January 15th at 8:30 a.m. has been cancelled. This event will be rescheduled for later in the 2015 year.
We look forward to this event so please stay tuned for more details in 2015.

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Housing Market Forecast Luncheon with the HBA, GGAR, SMC of the Upstate, and UMLA and featured speaker Dr. David Crowe.

Don’t Miss out
NAHB Chief Economist Dr. David Crowe will be
the keynote speaker at the
Housing Market Forecast Luncheon on February 3, 2015!

Want to start 2015 in the know and off right? Your HBA, SMC of the Upstate, Greater Greenville Association of Realtors (GGAR), and Upstate Mortgage Lenders Association (affiliate of MBAC) are working together to bring the best and most up to date economic information to you. Make plans to attend The Housing Market Forecast Luncheon at TD Convention Center on Tuesday, February 3rd, at 11:30 a.m. featuring Dr. David Crowe, Chief Economist for NAHB.
David Crowe is Chief Economist and Senior Vice President at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).   Dr. Crowe is responsible for NAHB’s forecast of housing and economic trends, survey research and analysis of the home building industry and consumer preferences as well as micro economic analysis of government policies that affect housing. 
Before becoming NAHB’s Chief Economist, Dr. Crowe was NAHB’s Senior Vice President for Regulatory and Housing Policy.  Prior to NAHB, Dr. Crowe was Deputy Director of the Division of Housing and Demographic Analysis at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 
He has served on federal advisory committees to the Census Bureau and to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 
Dr. Crowe holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Kentucky.

During this meeting the HBA will host a table top forum for HBA members and prospective members during registration and immediately following the meeting.  HBA members are invited to participate in the table top forum and there are 10 spaces available. If you are interested in sponsoring a TableTop contact the HBA office at 864-254-0133

To RSVP for this event or for more information on any of our upcoming events please contact the HBA office at 864-254-0133.



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HBA of Greenville Holiday Schedule!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 
Your HBA of Greenville will be closed on Wednesday, December 24 through Friday, December 26th in observance of the Christmas holiday and will also be closed on December 31st through January 2nd for the New Year's holiday. 
Thank you for your support and participation and your HBA wishes you a wonderful holiday season!


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NAHB Delivers in Lackluster Congress
Though the 113th Congress is destined to be the least productive legislative session in 40 years in terms of laws passed, NAHB was able to achieve considerable victories for our members.

A Dececember 11 article in The Hill detailing the top 10 lobbying victories of the year cited NAHB efforts to enact flood insurance reform, noting that “Congress rolled back changes to the nation’s flood insurance program enacted only two years ago, in a victory for the National Association of Realtors, the Independent Community Bankers of America, the National Association of Counties and the National Association of Home Builders, among others.

“Spurred by a spike in insurance premiums, lobbyists fought against fierce opposition from groups that said the subsidized rates from the National Flood Insurance Program could plunge the flood program that took a balance-sheet beating following Hurricane Katrina further into debt.

“Lobbyists were able to permanently roll back flood insurance premium increases that Congress enacted to help keep the program afloat.”

In 2014 alone, NAHB estimates the flood insurance law will result in:
  • $755 million more in new home construction because it is now easier for potential new home buyers to sell their existing home and trade up.
  • $361 million a year in additional remodeling activity because there is no longer added insurance expense for certain remodeling jobs.
Other Key Laws Contribute to a Builder’s Bottom Line
In addition, NAHB played an instrumental role in shepherding through Congress important legislation that helped the housing community:

Farm Bill generates $1.2 billion in additional home building and remodeling. The Farm Bill enacted into law earlier this year is a major victory for NAHB and housing. It includes an important provision championed by NAHB that will help members living and working in rural areas across the nation.

The legislation allows more than 900 communities to retain their status as “rural” areas where residents have access to important rural housing programs that help low- and very-low income households buy their own homes or find suitable rental housing. This will enable millions of Americans to maintain access to critical rural housing programs.

NAHB economists estimate that each of these 900-plus communities will receive on average more than $1 million in economic activity this year in USDA loans and grants for new construction and remodeling ? funding that would have been lost had the law not been passed. In 2014 alone, it will generate an additional $1.2 billion in housing investment.

Tax extenders legislation could save builders and home owners more than $2 billion in 2014. In one of their last official acts of business before adjourning, the House and Senate approved H.R. 5771, the Tax Increase Prevention Act, which will renew scores of temporary tax provisions known as “tax extenders” that expired this year. The one-year retroactive renewal, which is through 2014 and dates back to Jan. 1, includes several provisions of interest to the housing community.
  • Section 45L Tax Credit for Energy Efficient New Homes. Provides builders a $2,000 tax credit for exceeding energy standards by 50%. The base energy code is the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code plus supplements. Section 45L is expected to save home builders $267 million in taxes for 2014 construction activity.
  • Section 25C Tax Credit for Qualified Energy Efficiency Improvements. This is a credit worth up to $500 (subject to a $500 lifetime cap), with lower caps for certain products like windows, for consumers to install qualified energy efficient upgrades. Remodelers often leverage 25C tax credits when working with clients. Section 25C is expected to save home owners who remodel $832 million in taxes for 2014 improvements.
  • Section 163 Deduction for Private Mortgage Insurance. Allows taxpayers, subject to an income cap, to deduct premiums paid for private mortgage insurance. The deduction for PMI is expected to save home owners $919 million for tax year 2014. See the full list of housing tax extenders.
Military housing can certify to the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard (NGBS).NAHB secured legislative language approved by Congress to authorize the use of the NGBS for residential construction. Project managers now have more choices when choosing green certification for new residential construction or remodeling projects, and the voluntary NGBS certification program has yet another official stamp of approval, lending more validity to state and local HBA efforts to fight green mandates.

Workforce Act Funds Training for Careers in Home Building
President Obama in July signed into law H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. NAHB championed this bill because it will help alleviate labor shortages in the housing industry by providing investment and resources to train workers for careers in home building and other industries. In addition, the law reauthorizes the Job Corps and Youthbuild programs as federal programs operated through the U.S. Department of Labor.

Water Resource Development Act will Improve Levees
The President in June signed into law the Water Resource Development Act. NAHB strongly supported this measure because it makes much-needed investments in our country’s underperforming levees, opening the door to new building opportunities.

This measure provides funding to enhance long-delayed flood control projects, ultimately protecting home owners in flood-prone areas. This will enable NAHB members to build homes in areas protected by better quality flood control systems. Housing markets that stand to benefit from authorization include Sacramento, Calif.; Topeka, Kan.; Fargo, N.D.; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
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Lowe’s to Offer CGR and CAPS Scholarships in 2015
Active HBA Remodeler members can expand their knowledge—and their businesses—by earning an NAHB educational designation with the generous support of Lowe’s ProServices.

The Lowe’s CGR Scholarship and the Lowe’s CAPS Scholarship help pay for the classes needed to earn the prestigious Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR) and Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designations.

First, interested participants must apply for the scholarships, which are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline for both scholarship applications is January 2, 2015.

CGR Scholarship recipients can take the Professional Remodeler Experience Profile (PREP) online for free until March 13, 2015. Results of the PREP guide individuals to the courses they need to complete to obtain the CGR.

If the PREP is taken prior to the 2015 NAHB International Builders Show in Las Vegas, individuals can start taking Pre-Show courses at the show January 17-20.

CAPS Scholarship recipients can take the courses needed to obtain the designation at either IBS or at the Remodeling Show in Chicago, September 30 through October 2, 2015. Courses include Business Management for Building Professionals, Project Management and Design/Build Solutions for Aging and Accessibility (CAPS II).

Customers seek Remodelers with CGR and CAPS because these designees demonstrate passion for and commitment to being the best in the industry. And companies benefit too—as another indication of their professionalism, members with the CGR and CAPS report higher annual revenues than those without.

For more information, visit nahb.org/LowesScholarships or call 800-368-5242 x8153.


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Unemployment Insurance Rates Will Be Lower Than Expected in 2015
Small business owners like home builders will pay lower than expected unemployment insurance rates in 2015, the result of the State of South Carolina quickly repaying most of the nearly $1 billion it borrowed from the Federal government during the great recession.

The State of South Carolina has repayed $780 million of the $977 million it borrowed as employers cut staff, which reduced tax revenue at a time when the state's fund balance for unemployment benefits was tapped by the large influx of unemployed workers.  The state's unemployment rate exceeded 10 percent for several quarters during the Great Recession.

As a result of the rapid loan repayments, the Federal government reduced its premium for Federal unemployment taxes to the minimum of .6 percent.  Had South Carolina not repayed its loan so quickly, the federal rate would have been 5.4 percent higher at 6 percent.
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What Homes Do Millennials Buy?
New NAHB research shows that millennials tend to buy homes that are smaller, older and less expensive than homes bought by older generations. Being the youngest home buyers with little or no accumulated wealth also affects how millennials shop for and buy their homes.

(View a Dec. 10 Fox Business news report where NAHB CEO Jerry Howard discusses millennial home buyers and the housing landscape.)

The majority of millennials are buying homes for the first time in their lives. Three out of four millennials who purchased a home were first-time buyers, but a quarter traded their existing homes.

Compared to older generations, millennials are less likely to buy a new home. Less than 9% of millennial home buyers bought a new home. The share was close to 12% among older home buyers.

More than two-thirds of millennials who bought homes purchased single-family detached properties. Nevertheless, compared to older home buyers, the millennial generation shows a slightly higher preference for multifamily condominiums. Close to 9% of millennial home buyers bought a multifamily property compared to less than 6% of older home buyers.

Consistent with being the youngest and largely first-time home buyers, millennials tend to buy homes that on average are smaller and concentrated in the lower price ranges compared to homes purchased by older generations. Half of all homes purchased by millennials averaged less than 1,650 square feet of living space and cost less than $148,500.

 



The most common reason for moving reported by millennial home buyers is to establish their own household, followed by the desire to have a larger unit and own it.

When choosing a particular home, millennials are more likely to let financial reasons influence their choice, while older generations consider the right size most often.

When selecting a new neighborhood, the right house most often influences the decision for both millennial and older home buyers. However, millennials are more likely to also pay attention to proximity to work and having good schools.

Compared to older generations of home buyers, millennials are more likely to finance home purchases out of current income rather than out of accumulated wealth, and when taking out mortgages they are more likely to use unconventional zero-down mortgages.


The research is based on the 2013 American Housing Survey (AHS), the most recent release of this ongoing biennial housing data collection. Only housing units purchased in the two years preceding the 2013 AHS interviews are considered. Housing unit characteristics are tabulated by the age of the household of head, a person in whose name the housing unit is owned. Millennial home buyers are householders that were 33 years old or younger in 2013 and bought homes within the two years prior to the AHS interviews.
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NLRB Issues Final Rule on ‘Ambush’ Union Election Rules
The National Labor Relations Board has issued its final rulemaking that that would dramatically speed up union elections, reduce the time workers have to decide whether or not to join a labor union and force employers to hand over to union organizers their employees’ private information.

Under the rule, employers could have as little as 10 days to hire a lawyer and prepare for an election hearing, which would give unions a tremendous advantage in their efforts to organize employees. The rule will be published in the Federal Register on December 15, and will take effect on April 14, 2015.

NAHB strongly opposes this controversial “quickie election” rule and will continue to work with Congress to prevent it from going forward. Specifically, NAHB is concerned this rule will make it very difficult for employers to retain counsel and have sufficient time and opportunity to prepare for an election. House bills introduced in the 113th Congress (H.R. 4320 and H.R. 4321) would prevent the NLRB from accelerating the union representation election process.

In addition, NAHB is part of the Coalition for a Democratic Workforce, which has announced that it will sue the NLRB to invalidate the newly released rule that would pave the way for unfair and illegal “ambush” elections.
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NAHB Promotes Health Care Bill That Will Help Small Businesses
Reps. Charles Boustany (R-La.) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) introduced legislation on NAHB’s behalf to reverse an IRS regulation preventing small businesses from providing employees with standalone health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), which have been a popular benefit with HBA members.

Standalone HRAs are an employer-provided benefit that offers participants a spending account to reimburse them for qualified medical expenses.

However, in light of the Affordable Care Act’s prohibition against health plans with an annual dollar limit on essential benefits, standalone HRAs have been deemed impermissible.

The Small Business Healthcare Relief Act of 2014 would restore these tax free employer-sponsored benefits that will help employees offset rising health care costs and pay for qualified medical expenses.
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GBS Building Supply Is One of SC’s Fastest Growing Companies

GBS Building Supply has been chosen as one of South Carolina’s 25 Fastest Growing Companies. The winners were honored at a luncheon at the Columbia Marriott October 21.

GBS Building Supply is a full service lumberyard that also provides roofing, millwork, house wrap, cabinetry, installed stone, and other products needed for construction, including “green” building materials. While GBS Building Supply provides the highest quality products, the company prides itself on customer service, innovation, and a commitment to the community.

The SC 25 Fastest Growing Companies competition is presented by The Capital Corporation. Primary sponsors are Scott & Company CPAs, Wells Fargo, McNair Attorneys, Columbia Business Monthly, and Greenville Business Magazine.

Other sponsors are Clemson University’s Rutland Institute for Ethics; the George Dean Jonson, Jr., College of Business and Economics at the University of South Carolina Upstate, and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

Representatives of Capital Corp., Scott & Company and other sponsors made on-site visits of nominees to interview key personnel and view company operations.

“We had a very strong field this year,” said George Moseley, principal of Capital Corporation.

“We were impressed with the energy and passion we saw on the site visits,” said Don Mobley, managing member of Scott and Company.

“We love the opportunity to recognize the growth of South Carolina’s companies,” said Lori Coon, publisher of Columbia Business Monthly and Greenville Business Magazine.

Once all the data is in hand, the selections are made. Winners are notified, but not given their ranking until the awards luncheon.

The keynote speaker of this year’s ceremony was Jack Jones, vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina.

The SC 25 Fastest Growing Companies, in rank order are:

25: Infinity Marketing, Greenville
24: Integrated Systems, Inc., Darlington
23: EDTS, LLC, Greenville and Columbia
22: Avtec, Inc., Lexington
21: Chancel Builders, Inc., Conway
20: M33 Integrated Solutions, Greenville
19: eGroup, Mount Pleasant
18: GBS Building Supply, Greenville
17: Wireless Communications, Greenville
16: Trinity Healthcare Staffing Group, Inc., Florence
15: Duke Sandwich Productions, Easley
14: Dynamic Solutions, LLC, Greenville
13: Ob Hospitalist Group, Inc., Mauldin
12: O'Neal, Inc., Greenville
11: Immedion LLC, Greenville
10: Garden & Gun Magazine LLC, Charleston
9: Spartina 449, LLC., Daufuski
8: A3 Communications, Inc., Greenville
7: Unitrends, Columbia
6: MEDcare Urgent Care, LLC, Anderson
5: ISHPI, Mount Pleasant
4: Sandlapper Securities, LLC, Greenville
3: PureCars, Charleston
2: SolBright Renewable Energy, LLC, Charleston
1: Lima One Capital Management, Greenville

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Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to Offer 3% Downpayment Programs
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced new low-downpayment mortgage programs geared primarily toward the first-time home buyer market.

In an official statement responding positively to the plan, NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly said:

“NAHB commends Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for instituting new loan guidelines that will allow creditworthy borrowers to obtain mortgages with a downpayment of 3 percent. One of the biggest obstacles to achieving homeownership is the ability to come up with a downpayment. By reducing upfront cash requirements while establishing tough but fair underwriting guidelines that include a number of safeguards, Fannie and Freddie will open the door to homeownership for more American families, particularly first-time home buyers and younger households.”

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt, whose agency regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, said: “These underwriting guidelines provide a responsible approach to improving access to credit while ensuring safe and sound lending practices. To mitigate risk, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will use their automated underwriting systems, which include compensating factors to evaluate a borrower’s creditworthiness.”

Major media outlets reporting on the developments noted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s new programs to purchase mortgages with 3 percent downpayments would enable more creditworthy borrowers who lack the funds for a large downpayment to be able to obtain a home mortgage.
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HBA Membership Provides Discounted Wireless Program

AT&T, Verizon, Spring, and T-Mobile Discounts Available

Your HBA is pleased to announce the launch of our newest member benefit program with eMemberBenefits. They provide discounted wireless service offerings from Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile. This unique program offers a wide range of benefits to members including: discounts averaging 35 percent for members, free mobile to any mobile calling, free mobile device management through an online portal, dedicated 24/7/365 help desk support and much more.*

Home builders today are relying on mobile technology for more than just phone calls. With the introduction of new technology, productivity has increased significantly. The eMemberBenefits wireless program for members helps to deliver solutions that are both powerful and simplified so that your enterprise gets the most from current available technologies at the very best prices.

Members will receive a no cost, no obligation detailed assessment of their existing wireless telecom expenses, and be provided with a free side-by-side comparison of discounts available for their existing service, along with comparable options from other carriers, often with even greater discounts. Once a member selects an option, they will receive comprehensive management of the implementation process, and a dedicated representative to act as the focal point for customer service and ongoing member support.

To learn more, please visit www.eMemberBenefits.com/nahb or call 866-430-NAHB (6242) to speak directly with a member benefit specialist.

* All carriers require a 5 line minimum for business accounts (all phones, tablets, mobile hot spots and other cellular internet connected devices count towards this minimum

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Housing Market Forecast Luncheon with HBA, GGAR and NMBA planned for 2015 Featuring Dr. David Crowe, Chief Economist for NAHB
Want to start 2015 in the know and off right? Your HBA, SMC of the Upstate, Greater Greenville Association of Realtors (GGAR), and National Mortgage Bankers Association (NMBA) are working together to bring the best and most up to date economic information to you. Make plans to attend The Housing Market Forecast Luncheon at TD Convention Center on Tuesday, February 3rd, at 11:30 a.m. featuring Dr. David Crowe, Chief Economist for NAHB.
David Crowe is Chief Economist and Senior Vice President at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).   Dr. Crowe is responsible for NAHB’s forecast of housing and economic trends, survey research and analysis of the home building industry and consumer preferences as well as micro economic analysis of government policies that affect housing. 
Dr. Crowe is also responsible for the development and implementation of an innovative model of the local economic impact and fiscal cost of new home construction, which has estimated the net impact of new housing in over 500 local markets.  Past research has concentrated on home ownership trends, tax issues, demographics, government mortgage insurance, local land use ordinance impacts and the impacts of housing on local economies. 
Before becoming NAHB’s Chief Economist, Dr. Crowe was NAHB’s Senior Vice President for Regulatory and Housing Policy.  Prior to NAHB, Dr. Crowe was Deputy Director of the Division of Housing and Demographic Analysis at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 
He has served on federal advisory committees to the Census Bureau and to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 
Dr. Crowe holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Kentucky.
During this meeting the HBA will host a table top forum for HBA members and prospective members during registration and immediately following the meeting.  HBA members are invited to participate in the table top forum and there are 10 spaces available. If you are interested in sponsoring a TableTop contact the HBA office at 864-254-0133.
 * If you would like to attend the Housing Market Forecast Luncheon please RSVP by January 26th by calling the HBA Office at 864-254-0133.

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45th Annual Bird Supper Announced: April 15, 2015

Mark your calendar now to attend the 45th Annual Bird Supper:
  • Tuesday, April 14, 2015
  • Seawells, Columbia, SC
Tickets are $35.  Members who donate to the PAC at the $250 level or above receive a complimentary ticket to the Bird Supper as well as an exclusive invitation to the Hammer and Trowel reception immediately preceding the Bird Supper.
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Carolyn Tate
The Board of Directors, members, and staff of the Home Builders Association of Greenville extend their condolences to the family of Carolyn B. Tate, 76, who died Monday, December 01, 2014.  She was the mother of Ronald G. Tate, Jr., General Counsel of the Home Builders Association of Greenville and partner with Gallivan, White and Boyd, P.A., in Greenville.


In addition to Ron, surviving are Sherry, Ron's wife, Bob Tate and his wife, Sherry, of Piedmont, and Eddie Tate and his wife, Laura, of Williamston.  Also surviving are seven grandchildren and two brothers, B. J. Bell of Columbia and Charles Bell of Mauldin.

Services were held Wednesday, December 3, 2014, at Woodlawn Memorial Park. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.thomasmcafee.com.
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New Member Reception and Meet the Board TONIGHT!

New Member Reception sponsored by PestBan
Thursday, December 4th from 5:30-7p.m.
The HBA of Greenville would like to officially welcome you, please join us for new member orientation tonight 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 please contact the HBA office (864) 254-0133.

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2014 Past Presidents Luncheon
On Wednesday, December 3rd your Home Builders Association hosted our annual Past Presidents Luncheon at Larkins' on the River, sponsored by J-Freeman & Associates. There was lots of smiling faces, stories, and advice for the incoming 2015 HBA President. The group will also welcomed current president Mike Freeman of ACA/ Freewood Contracting to their distinguished club.

Thank you for your service and dedication to our association and the industry!

Past Presidents who have served the HBA of Greenville:
( * denotes attendance at this years luncheon)
1960 and 1961 Donald Baltz
1962 Edgar Teasley                                   
1963 John Taylor, Jr.
1964 M. Graham Proffitt *
1965 Marion Uldrick                                     
1966 Eugene Rackley
1967 Lloyd W. Gilstrap          
1968 Edward H. Hembree
1969 W. N. Leslie
1970 Larry Gibson
1971 Levis Gilstrap
1972 John Cothran *
1973 Harold Newton
1974 Ray Dempsey
1975 J. W. Roberts *
1976 James Vaughn
1977 W. Glenn Hawkins
1978 David Balentine
1979 A. James Nelson
1980 A.J. Prince *
1981 Ralph Hendricks
1982 David Douglas
1983 Wm. H. McCauley
1984 Bobby Sexton
1985 Don Franklin
1986 Dee Smith
1987 Jerry Marsh
1988 James Leary *
1989 Ed Burgess
1990 Joe W. Jelks, III
1991 Don Rex
1992 Dennis Waldrop *
1993 Lynn Yeargin *
1994 Rodney Edwards
1995 Doug Ashmore *
1996 William (Billy) Dunn
1997 Tim Justice
1998 and 1999 Gale Crawford *
2000 Wayne Moore*
2001 Richard Merritt *
2002 Jim Gregorie *
2003 Keith Smith
2004 Hal Dillard *
2005 Clyde Rector
2006 Coleman Shouse
2007 Dan Rawls
2008 Todd Usher
2009 Bruce Pasquarella
2010 Thomas Dillard *
2011 Wayne Moore
2012 Robert Markel *
2013 Rick Quinn *
2014 Mike Freeman *

Past President's with sponsor Jason Freeman of J-Freeman and Associates on the left.
 
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New Code Cost Requirement Benefits Builders and Buyers
In a big win for Home Builders and the home buyers we represent, the International Code Council (ICC) has taken a significant step forward in ensuring that code change proposals come with disclosure of their price tags.

In its press release announcing the opening of the 2015/2016/2017 code development cycle, ICC also announced that it will require all advocates to include the costs associated with any proposals introduced along with the paybacks, where appropriate.

It’s exactly what NAHB Chairman-elect Tom Woods asked for when he addressed the ICC board on September 29 and called on code change proponents to provide “quantitative information regarding the magnitude of the expected increase in construction costs.”

In an official statement lauding the ICC ruling on cost estimates, NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly said:

“NAHB commends the ICC for approving this landmark ruling that will require all code change proposals to include cost estimates. By acknowledging that costs are an important factor in determining the merit of code change proposals, this will make the building codes process more cost-effective and affordable. In turn, this will help keep housing costs down, enable builders to construct more energy-efficient homes and allow more young families to enter the new home buying market.”

This issue has been an important concern for Home Builders, as noted in this recent Eye on Housing blog.

To learn more about the ICC and the code development process, NAHB has provided a code toolkit that includes suggested amendments to make the latest versions of the 2015 family of ICC codes more affordable and practical. HBA members must be logged in to nahb.org to download and view the toolkit.
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U.S. House Approves Tax Extenders Bill
By a wide bipartisan of 378-46 margin, the U.S. House last night approved H.R. 5771, the Tax Increase Prevention Act, which will renew scores of temporary tax provisions known as “tax extenders” that are set to expire this year.  Severa are of interest to the housing community. The one-year retroactive renewal is through 2014 and dates back to January 1.

NAHB is disappointed that a longer-term deal was not reached, but the political situation and the calendar have forced Congress into a one-year deal everyone hoped to avoid.

Just one week ago, Congress was headed to a bipartisan, bicameral deal which would have extended all of the expired provisions for two years through 2015. The agreement also would have made a handful of extenders, like the research and development tax credit, permanent.

Just hours after word of the agreement leaked out, the White House scuttled the deal by announcing the President would veto any bill that contained these permanent provisions.

In a letter to the House prior to the bill’s passage, your Home Builders Association urged lawmakers to support the legislation. We also expressed concern that these short-term tax bills create difficulties for our members by denying builders the certainty needed to finance complex projects and called on Congress to act quickly on a longer-term deal in early 2015

Key provisions in the tax extenders package for 2014 (retroactive to January 1) include:
  • Section 45L Tax Credit for Energy Efficient New Homes. Provides builders a $2,000 tax credit for exceeding energy standards by 50 percent. The base energy code is the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code plus supplements. Section 45L is expected to save home builders $267 million in taxes for 2014 construction activity.
  • Fixed Credit Rate for 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credit projects. The bill will renew the 9 percent fixed rate, but only for 2014 allocations.
  • Section 25C Tax Credit for Qualified Energy Efficiency Improvements. This is a credit worth up to $500 (subject to a $500 lifetime cap), with lower caps for certain products like windows, for consumers to install qualified energy efficient upgrades. Remodelers often leverage 25C tax credits when working with clients. Section 25C is expected to save home owners who remodel $832 million in taxes for 2014 improvements.
  • Section 179D Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction. Provides a deduction up to $1.80 per square foot for commercial buildings, including multifamily buildings built under the commercial code, that exceed specific energy efficiency minimums. The proposal also would change the baseline for the efficiency standards to the ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1-2007 standards.
  • Section 163 Deduction for Private Mortgage Insurance. Allows taxpayers, subject to an income cap, to deduct premiums paid for private mortgage insurance. The deduction for PMI is expected to save home owners $919 million for tax year 2014.
  • Bonus Depreciation. Extends the 50 percent bonus depreciation.
  • Section 179 Expensing. Increases the maximum expensing amount to $500,000 for qualified property on up to $2 million in property placed in service.
  • Short-sale mortgage debt forgiveness. The provision would extend through 2014 the exclusion from gross income of a discharge of qualified principal residence indebtedness due to a short sale.
The Senate is expected to take up and pass H.R. 5771 next week.
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City of Greenville announces new inspectors, fee increase
The City of Greenville released the following statement this week regarding its staffing levels in Building Codes Administration, and a planned fee increase:

"Due to the unprecedented growth that the city of Greenville is experiencing, and the resulting increase in construction activity, the City of Greenville’s 2014-2015 budget included funding for three additional positions in the Building and Property Maintenance Division. The new positions included two inspectors and a plan routing technician, and were created as part of the City’s efforts to meet the increased demand for services and streamline the permitting and inspection processes. Additional plans include utilizing technology to increase inspectors’ productivity and time in the field, and expanding the current data management system to provide the public with real-time inspection results, online permitting and access to project plan review management. To that end, the City’s budget also included a 10 percent increase in fees for building, electrical, mechanical and plumbing permits, which will be effective January 1, 2015."

Buddy Skinner, Building Codes Administrator, also reports that the city will be moving to a new, web-based permitting system called Click2Gov during the first quarter of 2015.  With the new program, permit requests, inspection results and payment will be conducted online.

Buddy Skinner will be our guest speaker at the next Builder Breakfast, date to be determined but in late January or early February, to demonstrate the new system to builders.  Stay tuned for more information.
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Community Service Committee collects 50 coats at November Coat Drive

A total of 50 men's, women's, and children's coats collected through the month of November for Miracle Hill!

As many were making their way to the HBA of Greeenville Annual Meeting, Featuring Jerry Howard and sponsored by PestBan, on November 13th they brought a new or gently used coat with them. Many coats were brought to the TD Center for the meeting but for those that were not able to attend the meeting the HBA office had collection bins on hand.
Your HBA of Greenville is so excited to help those in need by helping provide warmth this winter to someone less fortunate.

The Community Service Committee is thankful for your support and participation. Happy Holidays!

Thank you to our members!

2 packed bins of coats...That's a lot of coats!











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FHFA Index Shows Mortgage Interest Rates Increase in October

Nationally, interest rates on conventional purchase-money mortgages increased from September to October, 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 4.11 percent for loans closed in late October, up 5 basis points from 4.06 percent in September.

The average interest rate on all mortgage loans was 4.11 percent, up 4 basis points from 4.07 in September.

The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages of $417,000 or less was 4.31 percent, a decrease of 2 basis points from 4.33 in September.

The effective interest rate on all mortgage loans was 4.27 percent in October, up 5 basis points from 4.22 percent in September. 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 $285,000 in October, up $4,000 from $281,000 in September.
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FHFA House Price Index Rises for 13th Consecutive Quarter
Latest Monthly House Price Index Shows Sign of Possible Slowing

U.S. house prices rose 0.9 percent in the third quarter of 2014 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI). This is the 13th consecutive quarterly price increase in the purchase-only, seasonally adjusted index.

The 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 4.5 percent from the third quarter of 2013 to the third quarter of 2014. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for September was unchanged from August.

“Easing interest rates and modestly improving labor market conditions helped to drive up prices in the third quarter,” said FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. “The price increases were relatively small in most areas, however, and are consistent with the type of market deceleration that other housing market statistics have shown in recent periods.”

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 1.5 percent over the prior quarter. Over the last year, that index is up 6.0 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 third quarter of 2014. The top five states in annual appreciation: 1) Nevada 2) Hawaii 3) California 4) North Dakota 5) Florida.
  • Of the nine census divisions, the West South Central division experienced the strongest increase in the third quarter, posting a 1.8 percent increase and a 5.8 percent increase since last year. House prices were weakest in the Middle Atlantic division, where prices increased 0.1 percent from the prior quarter.
  • As measured with purchase-only indexes for the 100 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S., third quarter price increases were greatest in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) where prices increased by 6.6 percent. Prices were weakest in the Greensboro-High Point, NC MSA, where they fell 4.4 percent.
  • Eleven of the 20 metropolitan areas with the highest annual appreciation rates were in California.
  • The monthly seasonally adjusted purchase-only index for the U.S. showed no change between August and September. The last time prices did not change on a month-over-month basis was in November 2013.
FHFA’s “distress-free” house price indexes, which are published for 12 large metropolitan areas, have tended to show lower quarterly appreciation in recent periods than FHFA’s traditional purchase-only indexes. In the third quarter, however, the distress-free measures do not show systematically different price changes than the purchase-only indexes.

Background:
FHFA’s purchase-only and all-transactions indexes 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 (calculated using both sales prices and appraisal values from refinance mortgages) 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 38 years.

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Conforming Loan Limits Unchanged in SC at $417,000
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced that the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2015 will remain at $417,000 for one-unit properties in South Carolina.  That amount is the conforming loan limit for the majority of the county. The loan limits are established under the terms of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) and are calculated each year.

HERA sets maximum loan limits as a function of median home values. In 46 counties loan limits will rise because those counties experienced increases in local home values. These metro areas include Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Nashville, Seattle and San Diego.

Although other counties experienced home value increases in 2014, after other elements of the HERA formula were accounted for the local-area limits were left unchanged.

A list of the 2015 maximum conforming loan limits for all counties and county-equivalent areas in the country can be found here.
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