Thursday, September 17, 2009

Housing Price Index Report

The chart below shows details from local markets from the recently released Housing Price Index report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Local markets continue to fare well, and home values have continued to appreciate in Greenville, Spartanburg and Columbia.

Three HBA Members Form New Company

Three Upstate homebuilders and HBA of Greenville members have formed a new company to develop, design and build Ivy Grove, a new community on Grove Road in Greenville.

Thomas Dillard (Dillard-Jones Builders, LLC), Scott Lynch (Hollison Custom Homes, LLC) and Brad Thompson (First Choice Custom Homes) have formed Ivy Builders, LLC to exclusively build a new 41-home neighborhood on property formerly known as Ivy Lawn, the site of the historic Williams-Earle House. For more on this project from GSA Business, click here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Home Buyers Want To Save Energy - But Only At The Right Price, NAHB Survey Shows

Even though prospective home buyers want the benefits of new, more efficient homes, they are unwilling to pay much more for a "green" home, according to a recent member survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

"Although we are seeing significant interest in green building, cost effectiveness is clearly a key concern among home buyers," said NAHB Chairman Joe Robson, a home builder and developer in Tulsa, Okla. "Builders said that among buyers who are willing to pay more for green features, more than half -- 57 percent -- are unlikely to pay more than an additional two percent."

The August survey coincides with news that the NAHB National Green Building Program continues to grow. More than 400 homes, developments and remodeling projects have been certified by the NAHB Research Center, which administers the program and trains and accredits local project verifiers. Of those projects, 43 have been certified to the National Green Building Standard, approved earlier this year by the American National Standards Institute.

Preferences for specific green building techniques are decidedly regional, with builders in the West reporting much more interest in water efficiency than builders in other areas. Interest in homes built with recycled materials is particularly high in the Northeast (the region where the fewest new homes are built) and low in the South (the region with the highest number of housing starts).

Only 11 percent of builders nationwide indicated that their customers ask about environmentally friendly features, according to the survey. "Fortunately, our members are increasingly taking the initiative to educate the home-buying public about the benefits of green construction," Robson said.

Overall, energy efficiency continues to be the primary factor driving the green building movement, squaring with previous NAHB surveys of home builders when asked about buyer preferences. "More and more, our members are able to convince their clients of the benefits of a home built with efficiency and sustainability in mind," Robson said.

"However, when buyers prepare to sign on the dotted line, cost-effectiveness clearly drives their decisions. We need to make sure that our energy policies reflect that reality so that builders have the flexibility to use lot and site design, high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment and other features to achieve the desired results at the right price," he continued.

"Whenever Congress considers how to encourage more energy-efficient construction, it must keep affordability in mind - and look for ways to incentivize these changes not only in new homes, but even more importantly in the nation's much more substantial and inefficient existing housing stock," Robson said.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Your HBA Has Been Doing For You Lately

To: Members of the Home Builders Association of Greenville

From: Michael Dey, Executive Vice President

I want to share with you some information about a couple of important meetings that have taken place in recent weeks that bear directly on how the Federal government has intervened in the housing industry.

Meeting with Congressman Bob Inglis

At the request of NAHB, several home builders met with Congressman Bob Inglis and his staff about the challenges being faced by home builders in the new economy. Hal Dillard (2004 HBA President and NAHB Congressional Ambassador to Congressman Inglis), President Bruce Pasquarella, President's Appointee Coleman Shouse (2006 HBA President), Legislative Chairman Rick Quinn, and I sat down with Congressman Inglis and Wayne Roper, his chief of staff, here in Greenville to talk with him about the need for the Federal government to take the following actions:

  • Extend the $8,000 home buyer tax credit until December 1, 2010, and expand eligibility to all home buyers

  • Urge federal banking regulators to improve acquisition, development and construction (AD&C) credit conditions

  • Urge federal housing regulators to correct the flawed home appraisal process

  • Co-sponsor net operating loss (NOL) relief bills: H.R. 2452 in the House and S. 823 in the Senate

We discussed with the Congressman the challenges our members have been having in tackling their credit relationships with their banks as well as the problems many of our members have had in obtaining credit for bona fide projects. We also were thorough in telling the Congressman that our banking members are equally challenged with the constraints of new regulatory oversight and the problems it has created for them in meeting the credit demands of the home building industry.

Congressman Inglis was very attentive to our needs and concerns, although it should be no secret that he is not a fan of stimulus efforts like the tax credit.

Nonetheless, the Congressman took our concerns very seriously and extended an invitation to me to return to his office the following day for a second meeting.

Meeting with Congressman Inglis and the Head of the Charlotte Office of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

I returned to the Congressman's office the next day for a meeting with the Congressman and Matthew Martin, Senior Vice President and Charlotte Regional Executive for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

We discussed the challenges that Home Builders have had with the changing credit standards and the impact it has had on the industry and the real estate market, including home prices, as well as the industry's inability to meet housing demand, particularly at lower price points. While I do not think the meeting was fruitful in influencing the actions of the Fed, it was fruitful in educating Congressman Inglis about your challenges and the need to tackle over-burdensome regulatory standards and the need to extend the homeownership tax credit.

While we were meeting with Congressman Inglis, there were other meetings occurring around the state with other members of Congress. The meeting with Congressman Spratt was crucial because of the Congressman's position in the U.S. House of Representatives as Chairman of the Budget Committee, a key place in the House leadership.

Now that Congress is back in session, the efforts have shifted to Washington, but the need for our continued efforts to influence Congress on the tax credit and other issues remains important. If YOU have not called or written to Congressman Inglis, you should and you can by clicking on this link:

Property Tax Relief for Home Builders

Our efforts are not isolated to Congress. In June I wrote to you to tell you about the property tax relief your association successfully secured for you for spec houses that have never been occupied. Attached is a briefing paper on that topic from the S.C. Department of Revenue.

An important deadline is coming up that you may need to act upon. If you retain in inventory a spec or specs that were built in 2007 or 2008, that have NEVER been occupied, you can receive relief from the property taxes on the improvements (the house itself, the lot will still be taxed). But you need to apply for that relief by September 30.

Your association also has planned a Lunch and Learn so you can hear about all of the details from the official charged with granting the relief, Debbie Adkins, Greenville County Tax Assessor. Here are the details:

  • Lunch and Learn: Tax Exemption for Home Builders

  • Speaker: Debbie Adkins, Greenville County Tax Assessor

  • Monday, September 21, 11:30 a.m., Hubbell Lighting

  • Please RSVP by emailing

Sometimes in the most challenging of times, you might question the value of your membership. Actions like the ones above go on daily in the good times and the not so good times and they take time, energy, and money. Our Officers, Directors, Councils and Committees keep doing what is necessary to serve and protect this industry and I ask that you think about that as we work through these challenging times together. This is why we also ask you to think of our members first when you are in need of any services or products related to this industry. Members pay their dues which allow us to do what is necessary to watch all of our backs and it is only fair that we give them a chance to earn a living. Please do business with members of the Home Builders Association of Greenville. Find out who your fellow members are by clicking on this link:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Impact of Immigrants on South Carolina's Economy

Did you know that approximately 4.3% of our state's population is made up of immigrants? And that if all unauthorized immigrants were removed from South Carolina, the state would lose $782 million in economic output and about 12,000 jobs?

Click here to read an article from SCBiz Magazine about the impact of immigration on South Carolina's economy.

Associate Appreciation Night is Almost Here: RSVP Today!

Join us on Thursday, September 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the HBA Office as we continue the tradition of showing our appreciation for our Associate members by treating them to a complimentary evening of food and fun hosted by our Builder members.

Builder members, we are looking for a few good chefs to sponsor this popular evening! This is the only event planned specifically to thank all of the associate members who do so much to support your HBA. Builder sponsors will have their company name on event signage and will be listed in Builder Review Online, and will have the chance to wear one of the coveted aprons at the event. Sponsorships are only $100. If you would like to be a sponsor, please note that on the event form, or call your HBA of Greenville office at 254-0133.

Associate members and Associate Affiliate members of record are free. Builder members who are not sponsors are $50. All other guests are $20.

Don't miss out on this great event - sign up today to enjoy an evening outdoors with food, fun and fellowship. Sign up on our website at:

HBA of Greenville Online Event Registration

You can also click here to download the event form and fax it to our office at 254-0134 to reserve your spot today!