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 Concert and ticket information is also available at .

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.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Awards Season is Here! 2014 Bridge Awards Gala Tickets available.

The Home Builders Association of Greenville and the Sales & Marketing Council of the Upstate present the Southern Home & Garden Bridge Awards. The Bridge Awards are an annual recognition of excellence in home building, remodeling, and sales and marketing. Awards will be presented to the best and brightest in twenty-five categories. 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. 

Kimberly Kelly, local TV and radio personality, will emcee.  


With music provided by instrumental duo Wirewood.

Award Categories:
New Homes
Full Home Remodel  
Partial Home Remodel
Green Building
Special Feature
Sales & Marketing
  •Web-Based Marketing Program
  •Community Promotion (Community of the Year)
  •Special Promotion
  •Individual Sales Achievement (Million Dollar Circle)
Builder of the Year
Richard A. Ashmore Sr. Associate of the Year
Dan Rawls Community Service Award
Sales Agent of the Year
  •Dollar Volume
  •Unit Volume
Sales Executive of the Year
  •Dollar Volume
  •Unit Volume

Lender of the Year
Don’t miss out on this special event, purchase your tickets today by calling the HBA office at 864-254-0133!  
Individual, couples, and reserved table tickets available. 

OSHA & NIOSH Issue Silica Hazard Alert for Stone Countertop Workers

On Wednesday, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) jointly issued a hazard alert about protecting workers from crystalline silica exposure in the manufacture, finish and installation of natural and engineered stone countertops.

The two agencies investigated U.S. worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica in the stone countertop industry following reports from other countries of stone countertop workers developing silicosis – an incurable, progressively disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease.

While the stone industry in the U.S. has worked to implement dust controls to protect workers against the dangers of silica exposure, studies and OSHA inspections indicate that exposure levels may not be adequately controlled in some stone countertop fabrication worksites in the U.S.

The alert addresses the health effects related to breathing in silica dust, recommends ways to protect workers, and describes how OSHA and NIOSH can help employers reduce silica dust exposures.

This includes monitoring the air to determine silica exposure levels; using engineering controls and safe work practices to control dust exposure; making respiratory protection available when needed; and providing training and information about the hazards of silica.

Crystalline silica is found in granite, sandstone, quartzite, various other rocks and sand. Workers who inhale silica particles are at risk for silicosis. Symptoms of silicosis can include shortness of breath, cough and fatigue, and may or may not be obviously attributable to silica. Workers exposed to airborne crystalline silica also are at increased risk for lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease.

For more information on OSHA’s silica rulemaking and your Home Builders Association’s involvement, visit For a quick reference guide on silica safety, check out your HBA's Silica Safety Cards, available for download in English and Spanish.

NAHB: Housing Affordability Improves Slightly in the Fourth Quarter

Slightly lower interest rates and home prices contributed to a slight increase in nationwide housing affordability in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released today.

In all, 62.8% of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of October and end of December were affordable to families earning the median income of $63,900. This is up from the 61.8% of homes sold in the third quarter.

The national median home price declined from $220,800 in the third quarter to $215,000 in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, average mortgage interest rates decreased from 4.35% to 4.29%.

In Greater Greenville, the index rose from 78% during the third quarter of 2014 to 80.4% in the fourth quarter.  Like the nation, house prices dropped slightly to $161,000 from $163,000, while income remained at $58,200.  As a result, Greater Greenville's national rank as most affordable among all housing markets improved to 64th nationally, and 13th in the Southeast.

Meanwhile, Charleston's affordability fell slightly as housing prices continued to rise in that market.  But Charlotte's affordability improved, also the result of falling home prices.  Atlanta's affordability also improved.

“This upturn in affordability is a positive development, and in line with what we are hearing from builders in the field: More prospective buyers are starting to move forward in the marketplace,” said Tom Woods, Chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

“Affordable home prices, historically low mortgage rates and an improving job market will release pent-up demand and help keep the housing market moving forward in the year ahead,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

Syracuse, N.Y. claimed the title of the nation’s most affordable major housing market, as 92.8% of all homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2014 were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $67,700.

Also ranking among the most affordable major housing markets: Akron and Dayton, Ohio and Harrisburg-Carlisle and Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pa, with the latter two tied for fourth place.

Cumberland, Md.-W.Va. topped the affordability chart among smaller markets: 96.2 percent of homes sold during the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $54,100. Other smaller housing markets at the top of the index include Kokomo, Ind.; Wheeling, W.Va.-Ohio; Binghamton, N.Y.; and Salisbury, Md.

For a ninth consecutive quarter, San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. was the nation’s least affordable major housing market. There, just 11.1% of homes sold were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $100,400.

Other major metros at the bottom of the affordability chart were Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara — all in California — and New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.

All five least affordable small housing markets were in California. At the very bottom was Napa, where 12% of homes sold were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $70,300. Other markets on the list included Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Salinas, Santa Rosa-Petaluma, and San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles; in descending order.