Friday, February 12, 2016

EPA Makes Changes to Lead-Safe Re-certification Process

Remodelers who are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work on homes that may contain lead paint under the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule now have the option to complete refresher training online, according to an EPA announcement.

However, EPA re-certifications obtained via an online refresher course will be valid for only three years – versus five years for hands-on training courses – and can only be exercised every other re-certification cycle.

“As a longtime advocate for a simplified re-certification process, National Association of Home Builders Remodelers Council appreciates that EPA’s changes provide some flexibility, but the limited and convoluted parameters of the online training option are unnecessarily complicated and could affect the number of renovators who opt to become re-certified,” said NAHB Remodelers Chair Tim Shigley, CGR, CAPS, CGP, GMB, GMR, a remodeler from Wichita, Kan.

“Whether they choose to refresh their training online or in person, with the March 31 re-certification deadline looming for over 100,000 remodelers, and thousands more later in 2016 and 2017, remodelers are left with precious little time to meet their re-certification obligations.”

Additionally, certified renovators who were grandfathered in under a HUD or EPA lead-based paint training course before the RRP rule was adopted must attend a refresher course with a hands-on component. The rule also made several streamlining and clarifying changes to RRP provisions that apply to training providers.

EPA’s changes only apply to those states where EPA administers the program. The 14 states that administer their own programs will have to take legislative or regulatory action to adopt the online refresher course option.

The White House Office of Management and Budget released the final rule to EPA on Jan. 21.

For online or in-person refresher training, remodelers should contact their Home Builders Association of Greenville, or they can find a course on EPA’s website. More information on how to determine specific deadlines can be found using “What You Need to Know about EPA Lead-Safe Re-certification.”

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

RHS Releases Final Rule for Single Family Loan Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service (RHS) published a final rule on Feb. 8 implementing changes to its Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP).

Designed to streamline the program, the final rule:
  • Removes the cap on the number of units per year for a single contractor or builder under the combination construction and permanent loan feature. It also allows a combination construction and permanent loan to be used for a manufactured home if the builder’s contract includes the sum of the cost of the unit and all on-site installation costs.
  • Allows discount points as a permissible loan purpose to “buy down” the interest rate for moderate-income borrowers, as well as for low-income borrowers.
  • Extends the SFHGLP guarantee to coincide with the terms of a loan modification, including an extended-term loan modification so that the guarantee will cover the duration of the loan.
  • Permits lenders to charge a maximum interest rate equal to the Fannie Mae posted yield plus 1%, but removes language from a 2013 interim rule referencing the Freddie Mac required net yield, since Freddie Mac no longer publishes its net yield rate.

The final rule becomes effective March 9, 2016.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Enjoy Member Discounts on Ram, Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, and Fiat

Member Advantage has launched a new affinity program that allows members to get discounts on select 2016 Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Truck and FIAT brand vehicles.

The FCA US LLC affinity program allows Home Builders Association of Greenville members, their employees, and their immediate family members at the same residence to receive a $500 cash allowance toward the purchase or lease of select 2016 Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram truck and FIAT brand vehicles. The $500 discount is off the final negotiated price and in most cases can be combined with other offers to increase savings.

Brand vehicles include:

  • Ram: 1500, 2500, 3500 pickups – All cabs; 3500,4500, 5500 Chassis Cabs; ProMaster Van, and Cargo Van
  • Jeep: Grand Cherokee (Excluding SRT) and Cherokee
  • Chrysler: 200 (Excluding LX), 300/300C (Excluding SRT) and Town & Country
  • Dodge: Dart (Excluding SE), Charger (Excluding SRT), Journey, Durango, and Grand Caravan (Excluding AVP)
  • FIAT: 500L

Visit nahb.org/fca for information on eligibility and how to take advantage of this discount. Learn more about the Member Advantage program or contact Christy Ronaldson for details.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Carol Morgan Named Professional Women in Building Women of the Year

Carol Morgan, managing partner of mRELEVANCE, LLC, was named the 2016 Woman of the Year at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Professional Women in Building Council (PWB) Awards Luncheon during the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.

Woman of the Year is the highest level of recognition presented by the PWB. The award honors PWB members who demonstrate excellence and a commitment to making a difference in their professional life and community.

Morgan served as PWB council chair in 2014, after serving as vice chair in 2013, regional trustee in 2012 and communications chair in 2010 and 2011. As chair, Morgan managed the council’s business and represented the interests of the council members throughout NAHB.

Morgan has been heavily involved with PWB at both the local and national levels; serving as communications chair, Region B Trustee and participating in spring, fall and International Builder’s Show (IBS) board meetings for several years. Morgan was instrumental in the founding of the Atlanta PWB chapter, which is now one of the largest local councils in the nation.

Professional Women in Building members work in all aspects of the building industry—as owners, builders, remodelers, architects, suppliers, marketing experts, designers and in finance and real estate. PWB is a select group of inspiring women who share strategies and solutions to promote, enhance and support professional women in today’s home building industry.

Your Home Builders Association of Greenville is more than thrilled to be starting its own PWB. Please stay tuned as we continue to grow the PWB task force into a full council to hear how you can get involved.

Lot Leads--Get the Dirt on Available Lots

Your HBA has been alerted to a lot for sale in Greenville. See below for details:
Location: 201 Rosebay Dr, Greenville, SC 29615
Lot Details: Suitable for single family. The house that was there previously burned down and the family moved into a different home. 
Contact: Emile Pandolfi at emile@emilepandolfi.com or (864) 419-3463.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Increase in Sales of Existing and New Homes

Existing Home Sales
Existing home sales, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), surged 14.7% in December, including an increase in the first-time buyer share to 32%, the highest share since August. December sales snapped back from a November decline partially attributable to delays in closings from the rollout of the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The new rule was designed to help consumers understand their loan options and avoid closing cost surprises. Total existing home sales in December increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.46 million units combined for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, up from 4.76 million units in November. December existing sales were up 7.7% from the same period a year ago.

Existing sales increased in all regions, ranging from 8.7% in the Northeast to 23.2% in the West. Year-over-year, all regions increased, ranging from 4.6% in the South to 11.9% in the Northeast.

Total housing inventory decreased by 12.3% in December, and is 3.8% lower than its level a year ago. At the current sales rate, the December unsold inventory represents a 3.9-month supply, down from a 5.1-month supply in November. Some 32% of homes sold in December were on the market for less than a month.

Distressed sales are defined as foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts. The distressed sales share decreased to 8% in December from 9% in November. The December all-cash sales share decreased to 24% from 27% in November and 26% in December 2014. Individual investors purchased a 15% share in December, down from 16% in November and 17% a year ago.

The December median sales price of $224,100 was 7.6% above last December, and represents the 46th consecutive month of year-over-year increase. The median condominium/co-op price of $209,900 in December was up 4.9% from last December.

Although the Pending Home Sales Index fell slightly in November, the sharp volatility in November and December sales was a function of implementing a new regulation. Builder sentiment remains strong, and the tight inventory of existing homes bodes well for new single-family sales in 2016.

“This is a really good indicator that the real estate market is returning to normal levels. When existing home sales rise it stimulates sales of new homes, and it stimulates remodeling activity," said Home Builders Association of Greenville President Joe Hoover, APB, of Hoover Custom Homes.

New Home Sales
Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 14.5% to 501,000 units in 2015: the highest level since 2007, according to newly released data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, sales in December increased 10.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 544,000 from an upwardly revised November reading.

“The December sales report is a great end to a very strong year,” said National Association of Home Builders Chairman Ed Brady. “As we move forward in 2016, we should see the housing market continue to make lasting gains.”

“Relatively low interest rates and an improving economy are motivating buyers to make a new-home purchase,” said National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist David Crowe. “Builders are upping their inventory in response to heightened consumer interest. Housing inventory is now at its highest level since October 2009.”

Sales increased in all four regions in December. The Midwest, West, Northeast and South all posted respective gains of 31.6%, 21%, 20.85% and 0.4%.

The inventory of new homes for sale was 237,000 units in December, a 5.2-month supply at the current sales pace.

Combining the reports of increasing sales of existing and new homes points to an overall increase in the housing market. Considering recent history, those in the building industry should always be cautious, but these reports point to a strengthening economy.
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Thursday, January 28, 2016

FHFA Index Shows Mortgage Interest Rates Increased in December

Nationally, interest rates on conventional purchase-money mortgages increased from November to December, 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 3.97 percent for loans closed in late November, up 12 basis points from 3.85 percent in November.

The average interest rate on all mortgage loans was 3.96 percent, up 10 basis points from 3.86 in November.

The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages of $417,000 or less was 4.20 percent, up 12 basis points from 4.08 in November.

The effective interest rate on all mortgage loans was 4.10 percent in December, up 9 basis points from 4.01 percent in November. 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 $318,000 in December, down $1,800 from $319,800 in November.

FHFA will release January index values Thursday, February 25, 2016. NACM_Jan2016.JPG
Source: FHFA

Technical note: The indices are based on a small monthly survey of mortgage lenders, which may not be representative. The sample is not a statistical sample but is rather a convenience sample. Survey respondents were asked to report terms and conditions of all conventional, single-family, fully amortized purchase-money loans closed during the last five working days of the month. Unless otherwise specified, the indices include 15-year mortgages and adjustable-rate mortgages. The indices do not include mortgages guaranteed or insured by either the Federal Housing Administration or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The indices also excluded refinancing loans and balloon loans. December 2015 values are based on 3,173 reported loans from 14 lenders, which include savings associations, mortgage companies, commercial banks, and mutual savings banks.