Friday, December 19, 2014

2014 Bridge Awards Entry Packets Available!

As a way of recognizing the best craftsmanship and professionalism in the industry, The Home Builders Association would like to present the Second Annual Bridge Awards sponsored by GBS Building Supply. This Awards ceremony will recognize the best and brightest of the categories, outlined ...click here 
Entries will be judged February 2015 and the winners will be recognized at the 2014 Bridge Awards Ceremony on March 19, 2015. Don't miss your opportunity to showcase the craftsmanship and professionalism you put into your projects, enter today!  

SMC Education panel event- Constructing the Builder/ Realtor Relationship on January 15th - cancelled.

Please note that the SMC Education Panel Event- Constructing the Builder/ Realtor Relationship, sponsored and hosted by Jeff Lynch Appliance and TV Center on January 15th at 8:30 a.m. has been cancelled. This event will be rescheduled for later in the 2015 year.
We look forward to this event so please stay tuned for more details in 2015.

Housing Market Forecast Luncheon with the HBA, GGAR, SMC of the Upstate, and UMLA and featured speaker Dr. David Crowe.


Don’t Miss out
NAHB Chief Economist Dr. David Crowe will be
the keynote speaker at the
Housing Market Forecast Luncheon on February 3, 2015!

Want to start 2015 in the know and off right? Your HBA, SMC of the Upstate, Greater Greenville Association of Realtors (GGAR), and Upstate Mortgage Lenders Association (affiliate of MBAC) are working together to bring the best and most up to date economic information to you. Make plans to attend The Housing Market Forecast Luncheon at TD Convention Center on Tuesday, February 3rd, at 11:30 a.m. featuring Dr. David Crowe, Chief Economist for NAHB.
David Crowe is Chief Economist and Senior Vice President at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).   Dr. Crowe is responsible for NAHB’s forecast of housing and economic trends, survey research and analysis of the home building industry and consumer preferences as well as micro economic analysis of government policies that affect housing. 
Before becoming NAHB’s Chief Economist, Dr. Crowe was NAHB’s Senior Vice President for Regulatory and Housing Policy.  Prior to NAHB, Dr. Crowe was Deputy Director of the Division of Housing and Demographic Analysis at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 
He has served on federal advisory committees to the Census Bureau and to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 
Dr. Crowe holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Kentucky.

During this meeting the HBA will host a table top forum for HBA members and prospective members during registration and immediately following the meeting.  HBA members are invited to participate in the table top forum and there are 10 spaces available. If you are interested in sponsoring a TableTop contact the HBA office at 864-254-0133

To RSVP for this event or for more information on any of our upcoming events please contact the HBA office at 864-254-0133.


HBA of Greenville Holiday Schedule!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 
Your HBA of Greenville will be closed on Wednesday, December 24 through Friday, December 26th in observance of the Christmas holiday and will also be closed on December 31st through January 2nd for the New Year's holiday. 
Thank you for your support and participation and your HBA wishes you a wonderful holiday season!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

NAHB Delivers in Lackluster Congress

Though the 113th Congress is destined to be the least productive legislative session in 40 years in terms of laws passed, NAHB was able to achieve considerable victories for our members.

A Dececember 11 article in The Hill detailing the top 10 lobbying victories of the year cited NAHB efforts to enact flood insurance reform, noting that “Congress rolled back changes to the nation’s flood insurance program enacted only two years ago, in a victory for the National Association of Realtors, the Independent Community Bankers of America, the National Association of Counties and the National Association of Home Builders, among others.

“Spurred by a spike in insurance premiums, lobbyists fought against fierce opposition from groups that said the subsidized rates from the National Flood Insurance Program could plunge the flood program that took a balance-sheet beating following Hurricane Katrina further into debt.

“Lobbyists were able to permanently roll back flood insurance premium increases that Congress enacted to help keep the program afloat.”

In 2014 alone, NAHB estimates the flood insurance law will result in:
  • $755 million more in new home construction because it is now easier for potential new home buyers to sell their existing home and trade up.
  • $361 million a year in additional remodeling activity because there is no longer added insurance expense for certain remodeling jobs.
Other Key Laws Contribute to a Builder’s Bottom Line
In addition, NAHB played an instrumental role in shepherding through Congress important legislation that helped the housing community:

Farm Bill generates $1.2 billion in additional home building and remodeling. The Farm Bill enacted into law earlier this year is a major victory for NAHB and housing. It includes an important provision championed by NAHB that will help members living and working in rural areas across the nation.

The legislation allows more than 900 communities to retain their status as “rural” areas where residents have access to important rural housing programs that help low- and very-low income households buy their own homes or find suitable rental housing. This will enable millions of Americans to maintain access to critical rural housing programs.

NAHB economists estimate that each of these 900-plus communities will receive on average more than $1 million in economic activity this year in USDA loans and grants for new construction and remodeling – funding that would have been lost had the law not been passed. In 2014 alone, it will generate an additional $1.2 billion in housing investment.

Tax extenders legislation could save builders and home owners more than $2 billion in 2014. In one of their last official acts of business before adjourning, the House and Senate approved H.R. 5771, the Tax Increase Prevention Act, which will renew scores of temporary tax provisions known as “tax extenders” that expired this year. The one-year retroactive renewal, which is through 2014 and dates back to Jan. 1, includes several provisions of interest to the housing community.
  • Section 45L Tax Credit for Energy Efficient New Homes. Provides builders a $2,000 tax credit for exceeding energy standards by 50%. The base energy code is the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code plus supplements. Section 45L is expected to save home builders $267 million in taxes for 2014 construction activity.
  • Section 25C Tax Credit for Qualified Energy Efficiency Improvements. This is a credit worth up to $500 (subject to a $500 lifetime cap), with lower caps for certain products like windows, for consumers to install qualified energy efficient upgrades. Remodelers often leverage 25C tax credits when working with clients. Section 25C is expected to save home owners who remodel $832 million in taxes for 2014 improvements.
  • Section 163 Deduction for Private Mortgage Insurance. Allows taxpayers, subject to an income cap, to deduct premiums paid for private mortgage insurance. The deduction for PMI is expected to save home owners $919 million for tax year 2014. See the full list of housing tax extenders.
Military housing can certify to the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard (NGBS).NAHB secured legislative language approved by Congress to authorize the use of the NGBS for residential construction. Project managers now have more choices when choosing green certification for new residential construction or remodeling projects, and the voluntary NGBS certification program has yet another official stamp of approval, lending more validity to state and local HBA efforts to fight green mandates.

Workforce Act Funds Training for Careers in Home Building
President Obama in July signed into law H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. NAHB championed this bill because it will help alleviate labor shortages in the housing industry by providing investment and resources to train workers for careers in home building and other industries. In addition, the law reauthorizes the Job Corps and Youthbuild programs as federal programs operated through the U.S. Department of Labor.

Water Resource Development Act will Improve Levees
The President in June signed into law the Water Resource Development Act. NAHB strongly supported this measure because it makes much-needed investments in our country’s underperforming levees, opening the door to new building opportunities.

This measure provides funding to enhance long-delayed flood control projects, ultimately protecting home owners in flood-prone areas. This will enable NAHB members to build homes in areas protected by better quality flood control systems. Housing markets that stand to benefit from authorization include Sacramento, Calif.; Topeka, Kan.; Fargo, N.D.; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Lowe’s to Offer CGR and CAPS Scholarships in 2015

Active HBA Remodeler members can expand their knowledge—and their businesses—by earning an NAHB educational designation with the generous support of Lowe’s ProServices.

The Lowe’s CGR Scholarship and the Lowe’s CAPS Scholarship help pay for the classes needed to earn the prestigious Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR) and Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designations.

First, interested participants must apply for the scholarships, which are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline for both scholarship applications is January 2, 2015.

CGR Scholarship recipients can take the Professional Remodeler Experience Profile (PREP) online for free until March 13, 2015. Results of the PREP guide individuals to the courses they need to complete to obtain the CGR.

If the PREP is taken prior to the 2015 NAHB International Builders Show® in Las Vegas, individuals can start taking Pre-Show courses at the show January 17-20.

CAPS Scholarship recipients can take the courses needed to obtain the designation at either IBS or at the Remodeling Show in Chicago, September 30 through October 2, 2015. Courses include Business Management for Building Professionals, Project Management and Design/Build Solutions for Aging and Accessibility (CAPS II).

Customers seek Remodelers with CGR and CAPS because these designees demonstrate passion for and commitment to being the best in the industry. And companies benefit too—as another indication of their professionalism, members with the CGR and CAPS report higher annual revenues than those without.

For more information, visit nahb.org/LowesScholarships or call 800-368-5242 x8153.

Unemployment Insurance Rates Will Be Lower Than Expected in 2015

Small business owners like home builders will pay lower than expected unemployment insurance rates in 2015, the result of the State of South Carolina quickly repaying most of the nearly $1 billion it borrowed from the Federal government during the great recession.

The State of South Carolina has repayed $780 million of the $977 million it borrowed as employers cut staff, which reduced tax revenue at a time when the state's fund balance for unemployment benefits was tapped by the large influx of unemployed workers.  The state's unemployment rate exceeded 10 percent for several quarters during the Great Recession.

As a result of the rapid loan repayments, the Federal government reduced its premium for Federal unemployment taxes to the minimum of .6 percent.  Had South Carolina not repayed its loan so quickly, the federal rate would have been 5.4 percent higher at 6 percent.