“As you extend the definition of ‘Waters of the U.S.’ to streams that only flow after it rains and isolated ponds and drainage ditches, you extend the areas in which home builders are required to get permits,” leading to bureaucratic delays, additional expenses and ultimate, more expensive homes. Learn more in this interview with NAHB Environmental Policy Program Manager Owen McDonough and National Association of Counties Legislative Director Julie Ufner.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has joined the throng of home builders, farmers and elected officials asking the Environmental Protection Agency to drop its proposed definitions for waters of the U.S., citing the disproportionate effect of the rule on small businesses.
It’s a situation that could have been avoided all together had the agency done what it was supposed to do in the first place: Have the SBA review the rule before releasing it to the public.
The new definitions could encompass land near bodies of water previously under the jurisdiction of states and counties ? or in the case of some drainage ditches or upland bodies of water, not jurisdictional at all under the Clean Water Act.
SBA is “extremely concerned about the rule as proposed. The rule will have a direct and potentially costly impact on small businesses. The limited economic analysis which the agencies submitted with the rule provides ample evidence of a potentially significant economic impact,” said SBA Chief Counsel for Advocacy Winslow Sargeant, PhD., in an Oct. 1 letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
On Oct. 14, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R.-Va) wrote an op-ed in The News Virginian, saying, “The impact of the Waters of the U.S. rule on farmers, landowners, local economies, and jobs is very real. Protecting America’s waterways is critical, but continued power grabs by the EPA is not the solution. This should be a collaborative approach ? not a mandate or murky definition from the EPA.”
On Wednesday, two NAHB members ? builders from Louisiana and Maryland ? were scheduled to visit the EPA offices in Washington to talk about the effects of the proposed rule on their businesses ? as well as the expected eventual costs, by extension, to home buyers. The EPA invitation is appreciated, said NAHB Environmental Policy Analyst Owen McDonough, but it’s like shutting the proverbial gate after the horse has galloped away.
“EPA may have questions about how the rule will affect home builders and developers, but they were obligated to ask those questions before they proposed these new definitions,” McDonough said.
This will be an opportunity for HBA members, who are interested in hiring trained employees, to learn about the programs and curriculum at Greenville Tech and meet the faculty and staff. You also will have the opportunity to meet students, your future employees. Lunch will be served.
UPDATE: The luncheon will be held in Building 106C (Carpentry/Masonry/Plumbing) of Greenville Tech's Main Campus, 506 S. Pleasantburg Drive, Greenville, SC 29607.
Please RSVP to the HBA Office by calling 864-254-0133, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or register online by clicking here.
One of the biggest benefits of a NAHB 20 Club membership is the annual company-to-company financial comparisons. The analyses commonly show that most builders who join a
|Todd Usher with Michelle Usher|
This award — presented during the organization’s annual meeting Oct. 1 ? recognizes Usher’s “above and beyond” efforts to further the cause of green building in South Carolina.
As president of Greenville-based Addison Homes, Usher focuses exclusively on sustainable construction, certifying 100 percent of his homes to environmental standards such as Energy Star, LEED for Homes, the National Green Building Standard and/or DOE Zero Energy Ready Home. In addition to leading the industry by example, Usher promotes the benefits of green building to the mainstream market via community education and outreach.
“There is established value in green building,” Usher says. “Consumers enjoy significantly lower utility bills along with enhanced comfort and healthier indoor air. The environment benefits from reduced energy consumption and fewer greenhouse emissions. When consumers become educated regarding the value equation for healthy, high performance homes, their decision to build becomes logical.”
Now in its eighth year, the South Carolina Chapter-USGBC Leadership in Green Building awards program recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations that show vision, leadership and commitment to the advancement of green building and construction in the state. Other 2014 recipients include: the USC Darla Moore School of Business, Exemplary Project Award;A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School, Green School Award; and Hiren Shah, Keith Sanders Service Award.
“Addison Homes is honored to receive the Duke Energy Green Building Leadership Award and we congratulate our fellow recipients as well,” says Usher. “It is a privilege ? and a responsibility ? to build increasing awareness of eco-friendly construction.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We hope that you will join us!
For more information or to register for this event please contact the HBA office (864) 254-0133.
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.
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.
|GBS Team with their 1st Place Chili.|
|Oyster Roast courtesy of Clark's|
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.”
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
Sources: morereport.com and themarketedge.com
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.
Top 4 reasons to register in September:
- 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.
- 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.
- HBA housing block ? Take advantage of great hotel properties at discounted rates and complimentary shuttle service to/from the Las Vegas Convention Center.
- Spouse registration ? Registration for spouses is FREE during the month of September!
|Dr. David Crowe|
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.
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.
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 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.
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
To register, visit HBACharleston.com or call 843-572-1414. The course fee is $35. The deadline to register is September 5.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.