Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Debunking the Myth that Immigration Harms America

The National Association of Home Builders and a group of 18 other trade associations representing business leaders and millions of employers across the nation today submitted written testimony refuting the myth that immigration hurts American workers and the economy during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining this topic.

Separating truth from fiction, the business coalition debunked the following falsehoods:

Myth: Lowering the number of immigrants would free up jobs for American workers.
Fact: Immigration helps create jobs for American workers

Myth: Foreign workers take one in five jobs in America.
Fact: Americans fill more than 91% of all jobs in America.

Myth: Lesser-skilled immigrants take jobs away from Americans without college degrees.
Fact: The data show that immigration does not negatively impact American workers without college degrees. In fact, lesser-skilled immigrants create jobs for Americans and grow crucial sectors of our economy.

Employment projects for 2012-2022 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the construction sector is expected to grow by more than 20%, nearly double the overall national average.

“Indeed, some sectors have seen rising labor shortages, presenting significant industry challenges,” the group’s written testimony stated. “For example, the number of open construction sector jobs as of December 2014 (147,000) stands post-recession highs, and the job open rate exceeds that prior to the housing boom. Lesser-skilled immigrants help to fill labor shortages in these industries, creating jobs for Americans and helping those industries grow.”

As the debate on Capitol Hill continues, your Home Builders Association is urging lawmakers to support comprehensive immigration reform that will:
  • Safeguard our borders;
  • Establish a fair employment verification system; and
  • Create a market-based visa system that will allow more immigrants to legally enter the construction workforce as the housing industry gains momentum and the demand for workers increases.
View the complete written testimony here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

2014 Bridge Awards Gala NEXT Thursday, March 19th (RSVP/ticket required)

The Home Builders Association of Greenville and the Sales & Marketing Council of the Upstate present the Southern Home & Garden Bridge Awards. Join special guest, Kimberly Kelly, and Wirewood as the Home Builders Association of Greenville and SMC of the Upstate recognize 2014's best and brightest in Sales and Marketing, Remodeling, and New Homes. Didn't enter for an award? That's ok, come congratulate your colleagues in the industry and find out who your competition is for next year!
This year's gala will be held at The Poinsett Club on Thursday, March 19th and will start with cocktails and registration beginning at 5:30 p.m. To register for this event click here, registration for this event will close at 5pm on Monday, March 16th.

Kimberly Kelly


Lumber Liquidators and Your Questions

In recent years, the housing industry has seen numerous problems with building products, including fire-retardant treated plywood, polybutelene pipe, certain types of siding, and Chinese drywall, to name a few.

Each case is different, but the experience we gain from each can provide guidance for future problems.

Most recently, builders and remodelers have had many questions about flooring purchased from Lumber Liquidators after a segment on 60 Minutes, the television news magazine, reported that high levels of formaldehyde were found in tested samples of the company’s laminate product. Lumber Liquidators has contested the results of the testing, calling them“false attacks on all fronts.”

NAHB has produced helpful resources for remodelers and builders that include background on the allegations, associated lawsuits, and tips for successful interactions with your buyers worried about whether the issues may affect them. You must sign in to nahb.org with your password to access this information.

Friday, February 27, 2015

High School March on Hunger Seeks to Raise 1 Million Meals!

Delvin Choice of The Voice Will Join the Performance
At the Charter Amphitheater in Simpsonville on March 14

The Harvest Hope Youth Leadership Board, comprised of 23 Greenville County High School Students, is marching to end hunger on Saturday, March 14! Their goal is to raise ONE MILLION meals for the Upstate. Delvin Choice of The Voice will join the march and perform.

The concert will take place at the Charter Amphitheater at 861 Southeast Main Street in Simpsonville, SC. Gates open at 6:00.

Come out to enjoy a great evening of music and help us raise 1 MILLION MEALS to end hunger in the Upstate! Tickets are just $12 when booked in advance or $15 at the door. Parking is $5 or FREE with donations of at least five canned goods for Harvest Hope.

For ticket information contact Jordan Littleton at Harvest Hope at 864-478-4083 or jlittleton@harvesthope.org. Concert and ticket information is also available at http://www.harvesthope.org/high-school-march-on-hunger .

Thursday, February 26, 2015

U.S. House Prices Rise 1.4 Percent in Fourth Quarter

U.S. house prices rose 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI). This is the fourteenth consecutive quarterly price increase in the purchase-only, seasonally adjusted index. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for December was up 0.8 percent from November.

House prices rose 4.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the fourth quarter of 2014. The HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“Contrary to prior indications of a possible slowdown, home price appreciation in the fourth quarter was relatively strong,” said FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. “The key drivers of appreciation over the last few years—low inventories of homes available for sa​le and improvement in labor markets—likely played a role in driving up prices during the quarter.”

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 6.0 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.

The seasonally adjusted, purchase-only HPI rose 4.9 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the fourth quarter of 2014 while prices of other goods and services rose only 0.4 percent. The inflation-adjusted price of homes rose approximately 4.5 percent over the latest year.

Significant Findings:
  • ​​Between the fourth quarter of 2013 and the fourth quarter of 2014, the seasonally adjusted, purchase-only HPI rose in 48 states and the District of Columbia. The top five areas in annual appreciation: 1) District of Columbia: 12.5 percent; 2) Nevada: 9.0 percent; 3) North Dakota: 8.4 percent; 4) Colorado: 7.9 percent; and 5) Michigan: 7.8 percent.
  • ​As measured with purchase-only indexes for the 100 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S., fourth quarter price increases were greatest in the San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA area, where prices increased by 6.0 percent. Prices were weakest in the El Paso, TX MSA, where they fell 6.6 percent.
  • Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division experienced the strongest increase in the fourth quarter, posting a 1.8 percent quarterly increase and a 5.5 percent increase since last year. House price appreciation was weakest in the New England division, where prices fell .03 percent.
  • The monthly seasonally adjusted, purchase-only index for the U.S. has increased for 23 of the last 24 months (November 2013 showed a decrease).
FHFA’s “distress-free” house price indexes, which are published for 12 large metropolitan areas (page 33), have shown lower quarterly appreciation in the last several quarters than FHFA’s traditional purchase-only indexes. In more than half of the areas covered, the new series—which removes short sales and sales of bank-owned properties—shows lower quarterly appreciation than the purchase-only series in the fourth quarter.

FHFA Index Shows Mortgage Interest Rates Decreased in January

Nationally, interest rates on conventional purchase-money mortgages decreased from December to January, 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 3.88 percent for loans closed in late January, down 10 basis points from 3.98 percent in December.

The average interest rate on all mortgage loans was 3.89 percent, down 11 basis points from 4.00 in December.

The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages of $417,000 or less was 4.06 percent, a decrease of 13 basis points from 4.19 in December.

The effective interest rate on all mortgage loans was 4.04 percent in January, down 11 basis points from 4.15 percent in December. 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 $291,300 in January, down $7,000 from $298,300 in December.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Home Builder Develops Fishing App

Nick Rubio
Nick Rubio, Project Manager at Gabriel Builders and a regular on the local bass fishing tournament circuit, has launched an app designed to help anglers catch more fish.  His company, Fatsack Outdoors, Inc., is also about to go public.

Rubio said he developed the App after years of keeping written journals, and finding that the smartphone apps on the market meant to track catches were not designed by fishermen.

Rubio is exhibiting this weekend at the BASSMasters Classic trade show at the TD Convention Center.

Read more at GSA Business by clicking here.