Thursday, July 2, 2015

HBA of Greenville closed for July 4th.

THe HBA of Greenville will be closed on Friday, July 3rd in observance of Independene Day.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Your HBA Community Service Committee completes a Rebuild Upstate project.

Your HBA of Greenville's Community Service Committee accepted a project with Rebuild Upstate (formerly ReWiGo) to help a family in the Pelzer area.  The project was completed on Saturday, June 27th and the HBA of Greenville would like to thank everyone that came out to help.
The group removed and replaced the flooring in both bathrooms and also replaced parts of the ceiling in several rooms.
On behalf of the HBA and Community Service Committee we would like to thank the following volunteers:  Community Service Committee Chair: Richard Bernath of Southern Traditions and Window Fashions    
Andrew Woodford of ABW Construction
Lisa Gilstrap of Southern First Bank
John Wolfrom of Providence Realty and Marketing
Beth Anders with Keller Williams Realty
Crystal Yanes of the Home Builders Association of Greenville.    

If you would like to help out or get more information on this project or others with our Community Service Committee please contact  Crystal Yanes at the HBA office. 864-254-0133.

Demo time!
Time to rip out the old floor!

Replacing the mail box

New flooring!

National Association of Home Builders Sues EPA, Corps of Engineers

On June 29, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published regulations in the Federal Register that, if implemented as planned on August 28, will massively expand the Federal government's jurisdiction over private property under the guise of the Clean Water Act.  Many observers, including the National Association of Home Builders, believe the regulation is an illegal expansion of Federal government authority.

Today, Tom Woods, Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Home Builders, announced that your Home Builders Association has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court challenging the new rule.  Below is a statement issued by Chairman Woods:

Fulfilling the pledge that I made at the Spring Board of Directors Meeting, NAHB has filed suit seeking to overturn a federal rule that redefines "the waters of the U.S." and drastically expands the area that can be regulated by the federal government under the Clean Water Act. The rule will go into effect Aug. 28.

Brought against the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, the lawsuit charges that the two agencies are "set and determined to exert jurisdiction over virtually every water feature imaginable."

NAHB has been involved in trying to shape this rule since it was first proposed in April 2014, and urged significant changes to make it more workable. Despite some minor improvements, the final rule is so extreme that the federal government will actually regulate certain roadside ditches, isolated ponds, and channels that may flow only after a heavy rainfall.

Such intrusive federal encroachment will inevitably lead to bureaucratic delays, increased project costs and mitigation fees, and decreased housing affordability.

The lawsuit notes that the rule goes well beyond Congress' original intent when it enacted the Clean Water Act and ignores the jurisdictional limits already set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court.

NAHB has also been working to engage legislators on this rule. With bipartisan support, the House recently approved H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, which would require EPA and the Corps to withdraw their rule and develop a new plan in consultation with state and local governments and other affected stakeholders, including small businesses.

NAHB is urging the Senate to pass companion legislation, S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act.

NAHB was joined in the suit by other business and agricultural organizations, including: the American Farm Bureau Federation; the National Association of Manufacturers; the American Road and Transportation Builders Association; the American Petroleum Institute; the Leading Builders of America; the National Alliance of Forest Owners; the National Cattlemen's Beef Association; the National Corn Growers Association; the National Mining Association; the National Pork Producers; and the Public Lands Council.

Further EPA Overreach
In other news, your Home Builders Association achieved an important victory for builders when the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2042, the Ratepayer Protection Act of 2015, on June 25. The bill aims to curtail the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) proposed Clean Power Plan rule, which would have a negative impact on the home building industry.

While EPA’s proposed rule is meant to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing power plants, its broad interpretation reaches beyond the agency’s statutory authority. Specifically, EPA includes consumer energy efficiency and demand-side management in calculating state goals and as an allowable part of required state plans to reduce future GHG emissions.

However, as the National Association of Home Builders outlined in comments submitted to EPA, stricter energy codes would affect only new construction and EPA has no authority over building codes.

What’s more, the energy efficiency requirements on new homes will drastically increase costs to home buyers, without guaranteeing real emissions reductions. After all, no federal or state agency can control how much electrical power a home owner decides to use once the building is occupied.

The Ratepayer Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), allows states to delay compliance with the Clean Power Plan until the courts decide on the legality of the rule. In addition, the bill includes an opt-out provision for any state that determines compliance with the rule would have a negative impact on ratepayers.

Your Home Builders Association helped lead the effort to pass the bill as a member of the Partnership for a Better Energy Future, a coalition of business organizations representing over 80 percent of the U.S. economy.

A similar bill, the Affordable Reliable Electricity Now Act of 2015 (S. 1324), was introduced in the Senate and is expected to receive a committee vote in July.

Although EPA had originally planned to finalize its regulations by June 15, it now expects to release a final rule in August.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

USDA to Raise Upfront Fee on No-Downpayment Loans from 2% to 2.75%

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service (RHS) is increasing its upfront fee paid by borrowers on a no-downpayment loan from 2% to 2.75% effective Oct. 1. According to an RHS official, the difference in monthly payments is $4.83 for a typical $135,000 loan.

RHS is permitted to raise this fee up to 3.5% under federal statute, but RHS says it does not anticipate any additional increases in its guarantee fee at this time.

RHS is raising its upfront fee to 2.75% in order to keep the program self-funding and to avoid having to request appropriations from Congress.

Friday, June 26, 2015

FHFA: Mortgage Interest Rates Fall in May

Nationally, interest rates on conventional purchase-money mortgages decreased from April to May, 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 3.75 percent for loans closed in late May, down 3 basis points from 3.78 percent in April.

The average interest rate on all mortgage loans was 3.75 percent, down 3 basis points from 3.78 in April.

The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages of $417,000 or less was 3.90 percent, a decrease of 3 basis points from 3.93 in April.

The effective interest rate on all mortgage loans was 3.90 percent in May, down 4 basis points from 3.94 percent in April. 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 $310,900 in May, up $300 from $310,600 in April.

Funding Stripped for Worker Misclassification Program

In a victory for your Home Builders Association and small business employers across the nation, both the House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Committees have rejected additional funding for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to address initiatives regarding misclassification of workers.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) spearheaded this effort, along with its business partners in the Coalition to Promote Independent Entrepreneurs, to urge House and Senate lawmakers to deny a White House funding request for an additional $10 million in the fiscal 2016 budget for DOL to implement worker misclassification enforcement and detection activities.

Last year, DOL granted $10.2 million to 19 states to implement or improve worker misclassification programs. The funds were designated to help states identify instances where employers improperly classify employees as independent contractors or fail to report the wages paid to workers at all.

While several states have existing programs designed to reduce worker misclassification, this was the first year that DOL awarded grants dedicated to this effort.

Moreover, the grant included a “high-performance bonus” to four states (Maryland, New Jersey, Texas and Utah) totaling $2 million for their improved efforts in detecting incidents of worker misclassification.

This could create an incentive for a state workforce agency, when making a worker-status determination, to find misclassification where none exists, the coalition told lawmakers.

Further, NAHB and its business allies said that any attempt that undermines the legitimate uses of independent contractors in the marketplace will have a detrimental impact on companies that do business with independent contractors.

House and Senate lawmakers agreed with us that state workforce agencies should focus on educating their employees about the laws regarding independent contractors rather than appropriating money incentivizing a worker misclassification finding.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

City of Greenville receives $2.1 Million for Neighborhood Initiative Program

The Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP) is designed to stabilize property values and prevent future foreclosures for existing property owners in strategically targeted areas through the removal of blighted structures.
NIP will assist communities by acting as a catalyst to stimulate redevelopment and revitalization in areas suffering from blight and decline, stabilizing values and assisting in the the preservation of existing neighborhoods. NIP is a joint venture of the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority and the SC Housing Corp. (SCHC), a not-for-profit corporation. NIP is made possible by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

                               113 Mt Eustis ST
The Neighborhood Initiative Program aims to acquire and restore the property through grading and seeding.

Program Guidelines
The City of Greenville, along with seven partnering non-profit organizations, was awarded $2,146,767 in NIP funding. The seven partnering non-profit organizations will acquire properties containing vacant and blighted structures, demolish all structures on the property and restore the property through grading and seeding. Properties must be located in one of the City of Greenville's Special Emphasis Neighborhoods.  The maximum amount of funding allowed for each property is $35,000, including all acquisition, demolition and restoration costs.  Properties acquired through this program will be redeveloped for affordable and workforce housing opportunities.  All funds must be spent by June 30, 2017. 

For more information or if you are interested in selling your property, please contact Michael Williamson, Community Development Division, at 864-467-4570.

For more information on Project Activities and Budgets click here.