Tuesday, December 28, 2010

AGC Construction Barometer rising in the Upstate, falling in the Lowcountry

The construction outlook is more optimistic in the Upstate than the Lowcountry, according to the latest construction barometer released by Carolinas Associated General Contractors.

The report showed a 1% uptick overall in North Carolina and South Carolina for the third quarter, despite the disappearance of federal stimulus spending, particularly in the highway and utility segment.

In the Upstate, the barometer increased 2.7 percent while it fell 3.4 percent in the Lowcountry.

Read the entire report at GSA Business by clicking here.

New Federal Construction Work Opportunity

The Federal government continues its improvements to certain military installations around the country. The latest announcement is the construction of more than 300 housing units at the Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune, NC, and the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, NC.

These projects are opportunities for construction work for various trades. Below are details on the construction projects:

MARINE CORP AIR STATION CHERRY POINT – HAVELOCK, NC

  • Project Name: Nugent Cove Section 3B
  • Description: 46 new home mix of single family and duplex – vertical construction only
  • Start date: May / June 2011
  • Finish date: May 2012
  • Total value of the project is roughly $10M
  • Trades: Concrete Slabs and Flatwork, Termite Protection, Rough Carpentry, Exterior and Interior Doors & Windows, Finish Carpentry, Plumbing, HVAC, Electrical, Roofing, Vinyl Siding, Gutters, Screen Porches, Landscaping, Wood Fencing, Vinyl Fencing, Chainlink Fencing, Insulation, Gypsum Board, Painting, Vinyl Flooring, Carpet, Cabinetry, Countertops, Cleaning, Bath Accessories, Mirrors, Playground Equipment, LEED Certification, and Energy Star Testing.

MARINE CORP BASE CAMP LEJEUNE – JACKSONVILLE, NC

  • Project Name: Watkins Grove
  • Description: 136 unit new home mix of single family and duplex – vertical and civil construction
  • Start date: April 2011
  • Finish date: April 2012
  • Total value of the project is roughly $25M
  • Trades: Surveying, Civil Sitework (Earthwork, Storm Sewer, Water Distribution, Paving, Site Concrete), Engineering Testing Services, Waste Disposal, Concrete Slabs and Flatwork, Playground Equipment, Termite Protection, Rough Carpentry, Exterior and Interior Doors & Windows, Finish Carpentry, Plumbing, HVAC, Electrical, Roofing, Vinyl Siding, Gutters, Screen Porches, Landscaping, Wood Fencing, Vinyl Fencing, Chainlink Fencing, Insulation, Gypsum Board, Painting, Vinyl Flooring, Carpet, Cabinetry, Countertops, Cleaning, Bath Accessories, Mirrors, LEED Certification, and Energy Star Testing.

MARINE CORP BASE CAMP LEJEUNE – JACKSONVILLE, NC

  • Project Name: Midway Park Phase 3 (LEED project)
  • Description: 134 unit new home mix of single family and duplex – vertical and civil construction
  • Start date: March 2011
  • Finish date: August 2012
  • Total value of the project is roughly $28M
  • Trades: Surveying, Civil Sitework (Earthwork, Storm Sewer, Water Distribution, Paving, Site Concrete), Engineering Testing Services, Waste Disposal, Concrete Slabs and Flatwork, Playground Equipment, Termite Protection, Rough Carpentry, Exterior and Interior Doors & Windows, Finish Carpentry, Plumbing, HVAC, Electrical, Roofing, Vinyl Siding, Gutters, Screen Porches, Landscaping, Wood Fencing, Chainlink Fencing, Insulation, Gypsum Board, Painting, Vinyl Flooring, Carpet, Cabinetry, Countertops, Cleaning, Bath Accessories, Mirrors, LEED Certification, and Energy Star Testing.

To inquire about this work, contact:

David E. Bollenbacher, Assistant Construction Manager
Actus Lend Lease
30 Cont Maryland Avenue, Camp Lejeune, NC 28542
Telephone: 910-219-6374
Fax: 910-219-6336
Cell: 910-376-5442
Email: David.Bollenbacher@actuslendlease.com
www.actuslendlease.com

Mortgage interest rates continue to deline


The Federal Housing Finance Agency today reported that the National Average Contract Mortgage Rate for the Purchase of Previously Occupied Homes by Combined Lenders, used as an index in some ARM contracts, was 4.42 percent based on
loans closed in November. This is a decrease of 0.07 percent from the previous month.

The recent rate history can be viewed by clicking here.

The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loans of $417,000 or less decreased 12 basis points to 4.38 percent in November. These rates are calculated from the FHFA’s Monthly Interest Rate Survey (MIRS) of purchase-money mortgages. These results reflect loans closed during the Nov. 23-30 period. Typically, the interest rate is determined 30 to 45 days before the loan is closed. Thus, the reported rates depict market conditions prevailing in mid- to late-October.

The contract rate on the composite of all mortgage loans (fixed- and adjustable-rate) was 4.35 percent in November, down 9 basis points from 4.44 percent in October. The effective interest rate, which reflects the amortization of initial fees and charges, was 4.46 percent in November, down 11 basis points from 4.57 percent in October. This report contains no data on adjustable-rate mortgages due to insufficient sample size.

Initial fees and charges were 0.80 percent of the loan balance in November, down 0.07 percent from 0.87 in October. Twenty-eight percent of the purchase-money mortgage loans originated in November were "no-point" mortgages, down from 33 percent in October. The average term was 28.1 years in November, up 0.1 years from 28.0 years in October. The average loan-to-price ratio in November was 74.8 percent, up 2.6 percent from 72.2 percent in October. The average loan amount was $214,800 in November, down $200 from $215,000 in October.

View the press release from FHFA by clicking here.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Money Saving Tip from Rick Quinn

Occasionally our members share money-saving tips with one another. This one is from Rick Quinn, Quinn Satterfield, regarding the inclusion of trash and sewer fees on bills for temporary water service from the City of Greenville.

The water bill comes from the Greenville Water system for both city and county water meters so the sewer bill is there either way. ReWa will discount the bill by the amount of the sewer for three quarters while the house is under construction but the builder has to call ReWa and they have access to the water system’s billing and can toggle it off. If you don’t have the meter set, or have it removed the bills will end also.

The trash fees can also be toggled off by calling Ed Marr at the city public works department at 467-4335 or by calling Arissa Gaines at the water system’s billing department (she will need to verify with the city that the house is under construction).

After the C.O. has been issued the trash fees will not be avoidable but the sewer and water can be avoided by having the water meter removed.

Holding Together

When one of our builder members was asked why he was a part of the HBA, he answered with this analogy:

“I always liked the story of the father giving his son a stick saying ‘Try to break it,’ and he did. Then he gave him ten sticks with a string around them. The father said, ‘Now try to break them.’ The son tried but he could not, and this is the way our association works. As one we are not very strong, but as many we hold together, even in tough times.”

How true this is, and each of us can be grateful that we are a part of a bigger group that exists to represent our needs and fight for our work and industry. Builders, remodelers, flooring providers, electrical contractors, insurance agencies – we all benefit from the stronger voice that our association brings to the table, whether it be with greater buying power to give us valuable discounts or greater political power to give us favorable regulations. But do you realize that most of our association is made up of associate members, not builders?

Our associates – vendors, subcontractors, and supporting businesses – comprise 2/3 of our association membership. The HBA would not be nearly as strong without the membership and support of these companies. Many of them join because they hope that by being members and getting involved, they can earn the respect, relationship, and ideally business partnership with our builders and other members. I am writing now to remind all of us of the importance of honoring their commitment to our industry and association by doing business with a member when possible.

I know that competition is fierce right now, and we make our business decisions based on what’s best for our customers and our bottom line. Many of us are loyal to trade partners that we’ve been with for years, and that is commendable. But where do you look when you’re ready to consider selecting a new subcontractor or vendor? I hope that you – like many of our builders – choose to peruse our HBA Member Directory first. After all, that is the list of companies who have made a significant investment in your industry, in their professional development, and in your business.

HBA members provide each of our companies with part of the string that ties us all together, making us unbreakable when by ourselves we could be snapped much more easily. That is why I’m grateful for every one of our members who have made or will make that investment in the HBA this year. Their dues, if even in a small way, help to all of us to stand with strength against whatever forces may strike.

Builders, it is vital for the survival and sake of our association that we give our fellow members the chance to earn our business by taking the time to occasionally come out to events, meet with them and your peers, and use the Directory as your buying guide. I have enjoyed building many new relationships with associate members over my years as a volunteer leader in the HBA, and my business is more enriched because of it.

Associates, a word to the wise about making the most of your opportunities: come out to events, get to know your fellow members and builders, but remember that, especially around here, it’s all about the relationship. Please, don’t try to sell every builder you meet on your product or service at each function; instead, build a professional friendship with them, and show your support by making yourself a regular presence in their industry circle. Not only will you gain new allies, but you will likely be at the top of their minds when they’re looking for someone who provides your services.

And for all of us, let’s just remember that what we get out of our membership is what we put into it. Being a HBA member doesn’t obligate you to come to every event and be involved in committees and councils, but you may likely find it to be much more rewarding – professionally and personally - if you do use your membership to forge new connections at our events and committee activities. Because those connections make for a stronger membership base, a stronger membership base makes for a stronger association, and a stronger association makes for a stronger industry!

Michael Dey, Executive Vice President

To Whom are You Giving Your Business?

Most of our member’s businesses, and that probably includes yours, are struggling during this down economic cycle. They are working harder than ever and some have been forced to think outside the box and develop new markets as old market opportunities disappear. We are all looking for new customers. If it’s any comfort, we know we’re not alone but it should also remind us to think of the other people that are in the same situation. A new contract or the next sale could influence the future of their business too.

Imagine if all 500 of our members agreed that they would buy only from other HBA members. It seems to me that it would create instant prosperity for us all. Whether you need a new deck, a roof, a vehicle, home remodel, car insurance, or a new driveway, it’s all in your Membership Directory. And it would mean more business for you too.

We’ve tossed around the “Do business with members” catch phrase long enough. Today there is every reason to give your business to a member. Take a look at your vendor list and move your business from non-members to members. Look in your Membership Directory before you give your business away. Your business could depend on it.

Stacie Byrd, Membership Specialist

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

U.S. Monthly House Price Index Increases .7 percent

U.S. house prices rose 0.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from September to October, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s monthly House Price Index. The previously reported 0.7 percent decrease in September was revised downward to a 1.2 percent decrease. For the 12 months ending in October, U.S. prices fell 3.4 percent. The U.S. index is 14.5 percent below its April 2007 peak.

The FHFA monthly index is calculated using purchase prices of houses backing mortgages that have been sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. For the nine Census Divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes from September to October ranged from -2.3 percent in the East South Central Division to +2.1 percent in the East North Central Division.

Monthly index values and appreciation rate estimates for recent periods are provided in the table and graphs on the following pages. Click here for complete historical data.

For detailed information concerning the monthly HPI, please see the HPI Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). The next release will be on Jan. 25, 2011 and will include data for November.

$20,470

That is the estimated savings for each home built in South Carolina due to the efforts of the Government Affairs Team of the HBA of South Carolina during the 2010 legislative session.

The Home Builders Association influences government on all levels. Our goal is to protect affordable housing and needless regulatory costs, which ultimately trickles down and effects everyone who works in the home building industry. Below are just a
few of the bills we influenced:

Fire Sprinkler Bill. Stopped the passage of the fire sprinkler bill, which would have mandated the installation of fire sprinklers in all new homes built beginning in 2011.
Annual Benefit: More than $100 million

Permit Extension Bill. Passed the permit extension bill, which prevents the wholesale abandonment of already-approved projects
by extending the term of the permits for a set period of time as the economy improves.
Annual Benefit: $15 million

Home Buyer Tax Credit. Supported the home buyer tax credit bill, which helped to reduce housing inventories, stabilize home values, and increased housing demand.
Annual Benefit: $146 million

The estimated savings for each home built in South Carolina due to the efforts of the government affairs team during the 2010 legislative session: $20,470

HBA of South Carolina is in Business to Keep You in Business.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

South Carolina to gain one additional seat in Congress

The U.S. Census Bureau released state-by-state population data from the 2010 census. South Carolina will add one seat in Congress beginning in 2012, bringing its total representation to nine—seven in the House of Representatives, two in the Senate.

South Carolina's population grew by 612,000, to 4,625,364, between 2000 and 2010, at 15.3 percent growth rate.

Read the entire report at GSA Business by clicking here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Swamp Rabbit Trail Needs Community Help to Seek Grant

The Swamp Rabbit Trail is a biking and walking path built along a former railroad corridor with the support of the Greenville Hospital System. The trail runs from the north end to the south end of the county and may someday become a part of a larger trail network.

The trail is applying for a grant from the Pepsi Foundation to fund development of trail crossing safety devices.

Community support is needed to qualify for the $250,000 grant. Voting ends December 31. Currently the trail is in 76th place. You can help put the trail in first place. Take 10 seconds to vote, and vote every day.

Click here to vote online.

Businesses and families from around the world are attracted to the Upstate and Greenville because of the quality of life and outdoor activities our community offer. The Swamp Rabbit Trail is an important component of our community's quality of life.

Friday, December 17, 2010

HBA of Greenville Elects Wayne Moore 2011 President


The Home Builders Association of Greenville elected Wayne Moore president of the association for 2011. He takes office January 1, 2011. The president is the top elected posted in the Home Builders Association of Greenville.

Moore is president of Harold Moore Builder, and is a second generation home builder and remodeler. Moore previously served as president of the association in 2000 and has served as a member of the association's Board of Directors for more than a decade. In addition, Moore is a Director of the Home Builders Association of South Carolina. Moore is a graduate of Clemson University.

In addition, the association's members elected Hal Dillard president elect of the Home Builders Association of Greenville. Dillard will serve as president in 2012. Dillard is President of H. Dillard Company, a Greenville-based home builder and property management company. Dillard also is a second generation builder and previously served as president of the association in 2004. Dillard is currently District Vice President of the Home Builders Association of South Carolina.

Also elected to the Board of Directors of the Home Builders Association of South Carolina are the following members:
  • Vice President: Robert Markel, GMR
  • Treasurer: Chuck Childress
  • Associate Vice President: Scott Presley
  • Immediate Past President: Thomas Dillard, CGP
  • President’s Appointee: Richard Powers
  • Associate Director: Larry Hazenfield
  • Associate Director: Lou Hutchings
  • Builder Director: Hardy Peters
  • Builder Director: Chris Bailey
  • Builder Director: Alan Boone
  • Builder Director: Mike Freeman, GMB
  • Builder Director: Brad Thompson, CMB
Continuing to serve on the association's Board of Directors:
  • Associate Director: Michael Cox
  • Associate Director: Jim Blume
  • Associate Director: Tom Ward
  • Associate Director: Eric Hedrick
  • Builder Director: Dan Rawls
Please congratulate and support the 2011 Board of Directors.

Quality of Life Driving Upstate Population Growth

The recently completed census found that population in the Greenville County grew by 18.9 percent. According to an analysis by the Greenville News, the newcomers have tended to be more highly educated, and nearly 15,000 of the newcomers to the county since 2000 have been foreign born. As a result, the percentage of those living in Greenville County who have a four-year college degree is 29.1 percent, above the national average.

Reasons sited for this trend include a high quality of life, employment opportunities, proximity to the I-85 corridor and other larger cities like Atlanta and Charlotte, and easy access to the mountains and the coast.

Housing Starts Rise 3.9 Percent in November

Nationwide housing starts rose 3.9 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 555,000 units from an upwardly revised number in the previous month, according to newly released data from the U.S. Commerce Department. This marked the first upward movement in new-home production since August, and was entirely attributable to a nearly 7 percent gain in single-family home building.

"Builders are very cautiously adding to their diminished inventories in preparation for the spring buying season and an anticipated modest revival in buyer demand when the economy shows more signs of improvement," said Bob Jones, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Bloomfield Hills, Mich. "That said, we are still looking at a very low level of housing production, due largely to builders' inability to obtain construction financing."

"The modest increase in single-family starts and permits in November is consistent with a very low inventory of unsold new homes and our member surveys that have shown a degree of optimism among builders with regard to sales expectations in the next six months," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "However, builders continue to find it extremely difficult to obtain credit for acquisition, development and construction activities, and this is weighing on their ability to initiate viable new projects that could generate much-needed job growth."

The 3.9 percent gain in overall housing starts this November was due entirely to a 6.9 percent increase to a 465,000 unit seasonally adjusted annual rate of new-home production on the single-family side. Meanwhile, multifamily housing starts declined 9.1 percent to a 90,000-unit rate.

Regionally, starts activity showed gains in all but one part of the country in November. The Midwest, South and West each posted gains, of 15.8 percent, 2.3 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively, while the Northeast posted a 2.5 percent decline.

Permit issuance, which can be an indicator of future building activity, declined 4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 530,000 units in November, its lowest level since April of 2009. However, this decline was entirely due to a 23 percent drop-off in the more volatile multifamily sector, where permits hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of just 114,000 units. In contrast, single-family permits rose 3 percent to a rate of 416,000 units – their highest level since this June.

Regionally, permit activity was mixed in November, with the Northeast and Midwest registering declines of 8.3 percent and 22.2 percent, respectively, and the South and West posting gains of 1.9 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Employment in Greenville Improving Faster than State, Nation

The employment forecast for the Greenville area is improving according to a report in the Greenville News. Economists see a developing trend where unemployment in Greenville County tracks below the state and national average in 2011.

According to Bruce Yandle, Clemson University Economist, "Greenville is already doing better than the state in the recovery."

According to the Greenville News, the county's jobless rate is at 8.7 percent, below the national rate of 9.3 percent and the state rate of 10.7 percent, and dramatic improvement over the county's 11 percent unemployment rate one year ago.

Economic development and job creation in the automotive sector is widely credited with the employment improvement in the Greenville area.

Upstate Forever Adds Four to its Board of Directors

Upstate Forever, a nonprofit conservation group serving 10 Upstate counties, has added four new members to its Board of Directors:
  • Diane Culbertson, president of Gray Court-Owings Historical Society
  • J. Drew Lanham, professor of forestry and natural resources at Clemson University
  • Mary Miller, former journalist and assistant provost at Clemson University
  • Susan Stewart Riordan, former journalist
Upstate Forever is a Community Partner of the Home Builders Association of Greenville.

Read more about the new board members at GSA Business by clicking here.

State Fire Marshal Subject of State Audit, Hearing

The S.C. Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) was the subject of an audit by the S.C. Legislative Audit Council, a semi-independent agency that audits state agencies and programs when requested by members of the S.C. General Assembly. In addition, the Fire Marshal's office also will be the subject of a publish hearing by the S.C. Senate later this month.

From the audit: "We identified several areas of concern regarding the regulation of fire extinguishing equipment used by South Carolina businesses and other organizations. First, policies and practices of the OSFM have been inconsistent with the fire codes pertaining to portable fire extinguishers that are no longer manufactured and standards for commercial stoves. Second, the OSFM has not adequately informed regulated organizations on how to gain free access to the fire codes, the specific fire code sections on which citations of violations are based, or their rights to appeal. Finally, the OSFM does not have a review process to check for unnecessary upgrades of fire extinguishing equipment that vendors tell organizations are needed to comply with the fire codes. As a result, organizations, such as businesses, schools, and hospitals in South Carolina are likely to have incurred unnecessary costs."

The audit was requested by state Senator Glenn Reese (D-Spartanburg). S.C. Sen. Kevin Bryant (R-Anderson) will convene a meeting of the Senate Labor, Commerce & Industry (LCI) Committee on December 16 in Columbia to hear “horror stories” related to the OSFM.

The state Fire Marshal, John Reich, was the leading proponent of the mandatory fire sprinkler legislation that was considered by the S.C. General Assembly in 2010. As a result of lobbying by the Home Builders Association of South Carolina, enforcement of mandatory fire sprinklers in new homes was delayed until January 1, 2014, at the earliest.

Read the entire audit report by clicking here.


Watch a report on WISTV.com.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

USC Moore School of Business: "Economy is healing"

Economists from the Moore School of Business said that South Carolina’s slowly improving economy will be helped by burgeoning retail sales in late 2010 and improvements in jobless numbers and personal income in 2011.

The economic forecast was delivered today in Columbia by University of South Carolina economists at the Darla Moore School of Business’ 30th annual Economic Outlook Conference.

Construction activity is expected to drop slightly in early 2011 and then finally rebound to a 3.7% growth rate later in the year.

Read the entire report at GSA Business by clicking her.

View the presentations by Dr. Doug Woodward and Dr. Joey Von Nesson by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Greenville Growth Tops State

According to a report in the Greenville News, Greenville County by 72,000 residents in the last decade, a growth rate of 18.9 percent. Most of that growth was in the suburban areas outside of the City of Greenville, which grew by 10.3 percent since 2000. Greenville County's population now stands at 451,428. The City of Greenville's population is 61,782.

By comparison, the State of South Carolina grew by 13.7 percent to 4,561,242.

The new population statistics are the result of the recent population census conducted by the Federal government.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Atherton Announces New Sales Subsidiary

Atherton Company has announced a new subsidiary that will specialize in new home sales and marketing: New Home Star.

"We have affiliated with a national group to give our company the tools to help builders and developers in the Upstate the tools they need to market new homes without the need of hiring a dedicated sales team," Atherton President Barbara Ryan said.

Ryan serves as Chairman of the HBA of Greenville Sales and Marketing Committee.

Real Estate Blog Predicts Increased Demand for Housing

A real estate blog reports that both Fannie Mae and the National Association of Realtors predict that demand for housing will increase by more than 20 percent in 2011.

Read the report at KCMblog.com by clicking here.

Builder Review, December 9, Published

Read the latest association news and information about upcoming programs and events.

Click here to read Builder Review.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

REMINDER (Builders): Property Tax Relief Deadline is Near

As the result of a law passed in 2009 with the help of the Home Builders Association of South Carolina, Home Builders are eligible for property tax relief on homes they have completed but are not yet sold or occupied. The relief is available for up to five years, but is lost once the home is occupied (for example, if the home is rented) or sold.

January 31, 2011 is a VERY IMPORTANT date. The property tax exemption deadline for recertifying unoccupied homes that got property tax relief in 2010, and for certifying any newly constructed homes, or older homes that have not been enrolled in the program for the 2010 property tax year, is January 31. Those who fail to certify or recertify with their county assessor by January 31 will have no recourse and there will be no exceptions and no tax relief. If you think you might be eligible, contact your county assessor. When in doubt, call your assessor. There are significant savings to be had by participating in this property tax relief program.

Relief also is available for the part of the year in which the home is completed. However, you must apply for relief within 30 days of receiving a certificate of occupancy.

DETAILS OF LAW:
  1. Effective date: July 1, 2009
  2. Homes Covered by Law: Newly constructed unoccupied detached single-family homes built in 2007 or later.
  3. Extent of Tax Relief: Provides property tax relief only for real estate improvement (new home), but builder/developer still pays property tax on the unimproved land.
  4. First Eligible Tax Year: 2009 property tax year. No refunds are available for the 2007 and 2008 tax years. Exemption application must have been made by September 30, 2009, to be eligible for relief in the 2009 tax year.
  5. Duration of Eligibility: Until the house is sold, occupied, or it has reached the property tax year ending the sixth December 31(five years) from the date a Certificate of Occupancy (CO), if required, was issued, whichever comes first.
  6. Recertification: After the initial application, the builder will be required to re-certify homes with Certificate of Occupancy (CO) annually by January 31 every eligible year that the house remains unoccupied.
  7. Homes with No CO: Homes without a certificate of occupancy (if required) are not habitable, therefore they can’t be occupied. This means that they can’t be added to the tax rolls until both the CO is issued (if required) and the house is occupied (Administrative Law Court decision).
  8. Change in Occupancy: Builders are required to notify the assessor if the house is rented or is occupied by the builder. The house permanently loses its tax exemption with the notification. If the house is sold, the assessor will pick up the change in tax status when property deed is recorded.
  9. Legal Reference: Section 12-37-220(B) of state code of law. Bill – H. 3018, Ratification- R88, Act- 76
  10. Obtaining Exemption: Homes Receiving CO in 2009 or later, notify assessor within 30 days of receiving a CO, or by January 31, that the house is unoccupied.
If house sale is not pending, it would seem prudent to file the exemption form when the CO is issued just to be safe. Each county has a form to claim the exemption. However, the form may vary slightly from county to county. To protect your legal rights, the application must be notarized.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

HBA President's Holiday Reception is December 14

Your HBA of Greenville will host its annual President's Holiday Reception Tuesday, December 14.

What: President's Holiday Reception
When: Tuesday, December 14, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Dillard-Jones/Southern Living House, Claremont

Each year our association members gather to enjoy the season together. This event is a remake of the old Year-End Party. The event is no charge to members thanks to our generous sponsors. Members will be able to socialize and network together, enjoy heavy hors d'oeuvres, beverages (adult and otherwise), and celebrate the season together.

Don't miss this opportunity to tour the Dillard-Jones/Southern Living House, decorated for the holiday season. And don't miss this opportunity to thank outgoing President Tom Dillard, CGP, and the rest of the 2010 Board of Directors, for their service to the Home Builders Association of Greenville.

To register, please click on this link.

Please also thank our sponsors:

Mortgage banker predicts strong 2011

After several years of growth during a trying time for the mortgage industry, Element Funding predicts 2011 will be a strong growth year for purchase originations, increased home sales and stabilizing home prices.

Read the rest of the story at GSA Business by clicking here.

Another job announcement for Greenville County

The South Carolina Department of Commerce and the Greenville Area Development Corporation announced that Century Plastics will expand its production facility in Greenville County. The $3.5 million investment is expected to generate 25 new jobs.

Read the entire report at the S.C. Department of Commerce by clicking here.

Marchant Company to market Georgia Home Builder

Greenville-based Marchant Co. has been selected as the marketing agency for Lee Builders, Inc. Lee Builders has several active housing projects currently being built in Greenville, Clinton, and Lake Thurmond.

The Marchant Co. will represent Lee Builders in real estate transactions at these developments. Headquartered in Lincolnton, Ga., Lee Builders is a premier builder in Savannah Lakes Village on Lake Thurmond, and has additional projects in Savannah, Ga., Augusta, Ga., and Clinton.

The builders first project in the Greenville area will be Governor’s Lake in Simpsonville, which will feature homes in the low $200,000s.

The Marchant Co. was founded in 1993. The company has recently expanded its offerings with full-service auction services, residential leasing and management services and a relocation services department.

Seabrook Marchant, President of the Marchant Company, is the Realtor Representative to the HBA of Greenville Board of Directors.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

NAHB Launches Mortgage Interest Deduction Website

This week President's Obama's Deficit Reduction Commission will vote on a set of recommendations to the President and Congress for reducing the Federal deficit. Among the recommendations is a proposal to severely curtail the mortgage interest deduction. Clearly this proposal is of concern to Home Builders and could drive the Home Building Industry further into recession.

NAHB has launched a new website at www.SaveMyMortgageInterestDeduction.com to help provide both members and consumers with up-to-date information on the threat to the mortgage interest deduction.

The site, modeled after NAHB's successful federal home buyer tax credit site, separates the myths about the mortgage interest deduction from reality and contains fact sheets, frequently asked questions, press releases, media stories, statistics, reports, and more.

Most importantly, SaveMyMortgageInterestDeduction.com tells visitors how to stay informed and make sure their opinions are heard on this crucial issue by connecting through NAHB's Facebook and Twitter mortgage interest deduction communities and our Eye on Housing blog.

Rest assured that NAHB has been ahead of the curve on this issue on Capitol Hill and in the media, and has proactively developed cutting edge research and polling data to ensure that all of our members' interests are fully represented as this debate unfolds.

Update: The following is a statement from NAHB Chairman Bob Jones regarding the Deficit Commission's Proposal:

"While we commend the hard work of the President’s deficit commission to improve the nation’s fiscal situation, this is simply the wrong approach to the problem. It would put a huge tax increase on millions of middle-class home owners by eliminating or devaluing the mortgage interest deduction. The consequences would be devastating for housing and the economy. This would further depress home prices, putting countless more home owners underwater and triggering a new wave of foreclosures. Eliminating or scaling back this vital housing deduction will shrink the local tax base of many communities, causing already cash-strapped state and local governments to further cut jobs and essential services. Given the extreme fragility of the housing market, with 21 percent of construction workers currently idled, tampering with the mortgage interest deduction is just not sound public policy."

U.S. House Prices Fall 1.6 Percent in the Third Quarter; .3 percent in Greenville

U.S. house prices fell in the third quarter of 2010 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index (HPI). The HPI, calculated using home sales price information from Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-acquired mortgages, was 1.6 percent lower on both a seasonally adjusted and unadjusted basis in the third quarter than in the second quarter of 2010. Over the past year, seasonally adjusted prices fell 3.2 percent from the third quarter of 2009 to the third quarter of 2010. The quarterly report analyzing housing price appreciation trends was released today by FHFA.

In Greenville, home prices fell .3 percent during the quarter. In Anderson, home prices rose 1.4 percent. In Spartanburg, home prices rose 1.61 percent.

FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for September was down 0.7 percent from its
August value. The monthly increase for the July-to-August period was revised from an initial estimate of +0.4 percent to 0.0 percent (flat prices).

While the national, purchase-only house price index fell 3.2 percent from the third quarter of 2009 to the third quarter of 2010, prices of other goods and services rose 2.0 percent over the same period. Accordingly, the inflation-adjusted price of homes fell approximately 5.1 percent over the latest year.

FHFA’s all-transactions house price index, which includes data from mortgages used for both home purchases and refinancings, rose over the latest quarter. The index increased 1.1 percent in the latest quarter, although it is down 1.2 percent over the four-quarter period.

Significant Findings:
  • Of the nine Census Divisions, the New England Division and the Mountain Division experienced the most significant price movements in the latest quarter. While prices rose 0.9 percent in New England, prices fell 4.0 percent in the Mountain Division.
  • Seasonally adjusted, purchase-only indexes indicate that prices rose in the latest quarter in 13 states and the District of Columbia. Prices rose over the latest four quarters in 10 states and Washington, D.C.
  • As measured with purchase-only indexes for the 25 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S., four-quarter price declines were greatest in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA area. That area saw price declines of 10.1 percent between the third quarters of 2009 and 2010. Prices held up best in the San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA area, where prices rose 4.6 percent over that period.
The complete list of state appreciation rates are on pages 17 and 18 of the report. Click here to download the entire report. The complete list of metropolitan area appreciation rates computed in a purchase-only series is on page 29 and all-transactions indexes are on pages 32 – 47.

Highlights
This quarter’s Highlights article analyzes the impact on the HPI of adding price information from county recorder data and FHA-endorsed mortgages. For the four states with the largest peak-to-current price declines, price trends for the “augmented” indexes are compared against developments measured in the standard HPI. Consistent with expectations, the augmented measures show greater price declines in the early part of the housing bust and slightly stronger price conditions in the latest recovery.

Local Comparisons
Since 1991, home prices have risen nationally by 90.6 percent, but have fallen 8.4 percent in the last five years.

In South Carolina, home prices have risen 80.4 percent since 1991 and have risen .7 percent in the last five years.

In Greenville metropolitan statistical area (Greenville-Mauldin-Easley), home prices have risen 10.2 percent in the last five years. In Anderson, home prices have risen 7.5 percent in the last five years. In Spartanburg, home prices have risen 6.29 percent in the last five years. MSA statistics are not available going back to 1991.

S.C. Construction Employment Expands in October

Employment in South Carolina’s hard hit construction industry is up slightly in October over September but still off from a year ago, according to data compiled by the Associated General Contractors of America.

According to the association, which received its information from the U.S. Department of Labor, there are 81,300 people working in the S.C. construction industry, up roughly 2,500 jobs, or 3.2%, over September. But construction employment remains below last year’s level, down 1,300, or 1.6%.

Read the entire report at GSA Business by clicking here.

Foreclosures drop 15 percent in Greenville during the Third Quarter

Foreclosures accounted for 19.44% of all residential sales in the third quarter of 2010, according to a market analysis released this morning.

That figure is slightly less than the national average of 24.89%, said RealtyTrac in its quarterly U.S. Foreclosure Sales Report.

Statewide and nationally, foreclosures fell about 25 percent, at least in part due to suspension of foreclosures by banks as they worked out flaws in their foreclosure processing.

In Greenville, foreclosures fell by 15 percent. Spartanburg rose by 6 percent. The average discount on the sales price for a foreclosure in South Carolina was 27 percent.

Read the entire report in GSA Business by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Greenville Chief Building Official Steve Landreth to Speak at Forum

Greenville Chief Building Official Steve Landreth will meet with HBA members at the Remeodelers/Government Affairs Forum in December.

What: Remodelers/Government Affairs Forum
When: December 16, 8:30 a.m. (continental breakfast will be served)
Where: HBA of Greenville Office
Featuring: Steve Landreth, Chief Building Official, City of Greenville

The forum gives government officials and HBA members the opportunity to exchange ideas and answer questions about the home building industry. Landreth will bring information about regulation of home building in the City of Greenville. Don't miss this opportunity to check in on the latest in codes and building enforcement in the region's largest city.

Bank Survey Reports Expectations of Tightened Lending Through 2012

The Federal Reserve’s October 2010 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices reports continued tight lending conditions by banks to businesses and households. The survey is based on responses from 57 domestic banks and 22 U.S. branches of foreign banks.

Despite reporting that some large banks have eased lending terms over the past three months, a special question in the October survey found that lending conditions would remain tight for the foreseeable future. In particular, the majority of respondents involved with residential and commercial real estate lending indicated they would not return to long-term norms of lending practices until after 2012.

On the other hand, 40 percent of respondents indicated that lending for mortgages and credit cards would return to long-term norms by the end of 2012.

With respect to residential real estate lending, the Fed reported that small fractions of banks reported tightened standards on prime and nontraditional mortgage loans.

Interestingly, the tightening was mostly reported by smaller banks, with larger banks leaving standards about unchanged. However, both small and large banks reported tightening standards for non-traditional mortgage loans. All banks reported small declines in demand for loans, likely related to the end of the home buyer tax credit.

The headline result of some easing of lending standards by big banks stands in contrast to recent NAHB survey data, which indicates continued tightening of lending to home builders.

Read the entire report at www.FederalReserve.gov by clicking here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

BBB Honors Gabriel Builders with Business of Integrity Award

Gabriel Builders, Inc., has been awarded the 2010 Business of Integrity Award for Customer Service by the Better Business Bureau of the Upstate South Carolina.

Gabriel Builders was honored for demonstrating high ethical standards of behavior towards customers, vendors and employees, along with having a history of strong ethics in the workplace. By displaying marketing and advertising strategies that reflect a true representation of the product, Gabriel Builders, Inc., has also been recognized by the community and their industry for sound business practices.

HBASC is Offering OSHA Training Course December 14

The HBA of South Carolina is offering an eight-hour OSHA Safety course on December 14 at the HBASC office. This course can be substituted for the NAHB safety course that may be required for builders and remodelers seeking the CGB or CGR designation.

This course will be offered based on need and requires 10 students to be held. If you need a safety course for an NAHB designation, you should register for this course immediately. If an insufficient number of students register, the course will be canceled.

Click on this link to register for the OSHA Safety Course at HBASC.

NFIP Extended Until September 20, 2011

Earlier this year Congress extended the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)until September 30, 2011. The NFIP authority would otherwise have expired September 30, 2010.

After several short-term authorizations this year and several periods of hiatus when new or renewing policies could not be written, this one year extension provides important stability and reliability to FEMA, Realtors, Home Builders, home buyers and sellers, and to current policy holders.

During the one year reauthorization, FEMA and Congress will continue their consideration of needed reforms to NFIP.

Civil Consulting and Design Announces New Subsidiary

Civil Consulting and Design (CCaD), a Greenville-based engineering firm, has announced the formation of a subsidiary to provide stormwater maintenance services: purendever Stormwater Solutions.

"Due to EPA requirements, cities and counties across the state are ramping up enforcement of detention pond maintenance," CCaD President Jamie McCutchen said.

Their services will include pond clearing, mowing, and cleaning; compliance assessment and certification of "Notice of Violation" or other regulatory requirements; erosion control, landscaping, and planting for enhanced water quality aesthetics; sediment and debris removal; and assistance in obtaining stormwater utility credits where available.

2009 International Energy Conservation Code Available for Free

The International Code Congress, in collaboration with the Federal Department of Energy, is making the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code available for free. While not currently the energy code in effect in South Carolina, the S.C. General Assembly is expected to consider adopting this new code. Be prepared and get your copy while it's FREE!

Click here to complete the online form and download your online version of the 2009 IECC.

Friday, November 19, 2010

New FEMA Rules Shift ESA Consultation Requirements to Developers

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Oct. 1 enacted new rules that apply to many developers in flood-prone areas that provide habitat for threatened and endangered species. The new rules, contained in Procedure Memorandum 64, were issued in response to several successful lawsuits by environmental groups against FEMA for not appropriately considering its responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when allowing development to take place. Now, FEMA is shifting those responsibilities to the landowners themselves.

When a project is proposed for a parcel of land within a floodplain, FEMA can issue a Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR) to state that the project, if built as proposed, would sufficiently modify the floodway, base-flow elevation and/or 100-year floodplain as shown on FEMA's Flood Insurance Rate Maps. Similarly, a Conditional Letter of Map Revision based on Fill (CLOMR-F) is used by FEMA when the parcel or proposed structure will be elevated by fill material to be above the base, 100-year floodplain.

The change indicated by Procedure Memorandum 64, requiring private landowners to provide proof that they are complying with the provisions of the Endangered Species Act before making any requests of FEMA, will likely add time and expense to any project in which property owners need flood map revisions to move forward, because they may first need to complete the Section 7 or Section 10 permit process. The Section 7 process can take 90 to 135 days to complete, while the Section 10 permit process can take about two years.

Going forward, NAHB will be adding clarifying information on this issue to our ESA section of NAHB.org, and we are reaching out to both FEMA and the Fish and Wildlife Service to discuss the implications of FEMA's memorandum.

Read more in Nation's Building News, or contact Matt Watkins (800-368-5242, x8327) for more information.

NAHB Sues Army Corps of Engineers Over Wetlands Classification

NAHB has joined in a lawsuit with the American Farm Bureau Federation and the United States Sugar Corporation that challenges a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision to begin treating certain farm fields as wetlands, affecting both the value of the property and the process for developing or building on it.

American Farm Bureau Federation et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers resembles a suit brought simultaneously by New Hope Power Company and Okeelanta Corporation. Both suits have been before Judge K. Michael Moore of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida and challenge the Corps’ recent attempts to improperly change a 17-year-old regulation that provides that land used for agriculture since at least 1985 can no longer be treated as wetlands.

In 1993, the Corps adopted a rule establishing that agricultural lands converted from wetlands prior to 1985 — or “prior converted croplands” — would be excluded from regulation under the Clean Water Act. Therefore, if a farmer decides to utilize land that has been excluded from regulation for some other use or to sell it to a residential or commercial builder, there is no need to get a new jurisdictional determination or go through the Clean Water Act permitting process.

However, in a 2009 memorandum, Corps Director of Civil Works Steven Stockton approved a new standard to regulate these agricultural lands when there is a change in their use. The regulatory uncertainty caused by this action is what prompted the lawsuits from NAHB and other industry groups.

In a recent positive development, this October, Judge Moore ruled in the New Hope Power case that the Corps could not change its policy without going through the usual federal process of giving public notice and offering a set time for comments from stakeholders or other interested parties. However, as yet there is no indication whether the government will appeal this ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

HBA of Greenville Holiday Office Hours

The HBA of Greenville offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, November 25 and 26, for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Elimination of Mortgage Interest Deduction, Sales Tax on New Homes Proposed

Recommendations to scale back on the mortgage interest deduction and other housing tax provisions included in two deficit reduction draft proposals released one week apart have raised serious concerns for the nation’s home builders.

A discussion draft unveiled on Nov. 10 by Erskine Bowles and former Senator Alan Simpson, the co-chairs of President Obama's bipartisan Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, lists options to completely eliminate the mortgage interest deduction or limit it to primary residences and mortgages under $500,000.

Other recommendations would be adverse for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), the deduction for real estate taxes for home owners, accelerated depreciation for rental housing, energy tax incentives and tax-exempt housing bonds. In addition, the proposals would result in significantly higher tax rates for capital gains and dividends.

However, none of these proposals has been formalized, and they are only listed as potential "options." Moreover, the overall plan, which includes many controversial recommendations on Social Security, health care, defense spending and other issues, must win support of 14 of the 18 commissioners in order for Congress to consider the package. This is a high hurdle and requires the support of both Republican and Democratic members of the commission.

The commission itself has no actual power to implement its official recommendations and many of the proposals put forth by the chairmen are unlikely to garner bipartisan support.

Reactions to the plan from both sides of the political aisle have varied, ranging from outright opposition to cautious interest.


A National Sales Tax and Devaluation of the Mortgage Interest Deduction
On Nov. 17, Pete Domenici, a former Republican Senate Budget Committee Chairman, and Alice Rivlin, former head of the Office of Management and Budget under President Clinton and a member of the president’s debt commission, released their own deficit reduction plan as co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force.

The Domenici-Rivlin plan to reduce America’s deficits would devalue the mortgage interest deduction by replacing it with a 15 percent refundable tax credit for anyone who owns a home. It would also eliminate several other tax rules related to housing, including the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, real estate tax deductions and deductions for second homes and home equity loans.

The proposal would further impose a new 6.5 percent national sales tax that would be applicable for new home sales and remodeling projects, but not for the purchase of existing homes. With the average nationwide price of a new home at $257,500, this plan would impose a whopping $16,738 tax increase on a typical new-home purchase and price more than three million households out of the new-home sales market.

While the Domenici-Rivlin and Bowles-Simpson proposals are sparking controversy across the political spectrum, it has become increasingly clear that policymakers are taking a close look at the mortgage interest deduction and other housing incentives with an eye to scaling them back.

Going forward, NAHB stands poised to vigorously defend the mortgage interest deduction and other critical housing and business provisions in the tax code as events unfold.

The NAHB Board of Directors has allocated resources to fight the anticipated assault on the mortgage interest deduction, and an integrated advocacy campaign is being developed in preparation for the Obama commission's final report to be released in December.

Along these lines, in the near future NAHB will introduce a new website that will provide essential data on the mortgage interest deduction and its importance to American consumers, and will facilitate member and consumer outreach to legislators.

Commentary
It should be clear from these proposals that homeownership, and particularly home building and ownership of new housing, is under attack from Washington. As NAHB works to defeat these proposals, the support of HBA members will be vital. Be ready to respond when asked and call your elected officials in Washington.

Congressman proposes elimination of onerous small business reporting requirement

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on Nov. 15 introduced legislation to fully repeal IRS Form 1099 information reporting requirements for small businesses and independent landlords contained in recently enacted health care and small business laws.

Starting in 2012, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will require all businesses to file information returns (generally IRS Form 1099) for payments to entities that total more than $600 in a given year. The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 further expands Form 1099 information reporting requirements so that independent landlords must now submit 1099s to businesses with which they have more than $600 of annual business as of Jan. 1, 2011.

The Small Business Paperwork Relief Act, S. 3946, would repeal these new and expanded requirements without providing any revenue offsets to cover the $19.2 billion cost over 10 years.

The lack of offsets could prove controversial with some Republican deficit hawks. Senator Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) has reintroduced his own legislation, the Small Business Paperwork Reduction Act, which fully repeals the 1099 reporting requirements but offsets the cost with unspent and unobligated federal dollars. Senate Democrats have opposed this offset in the past, with the Senate previously voting 46 to 52 to reject a similar amendment offered by Sen. Johanns.

Introduction of the Baucus bill is a positive development because both parties are now on record to completely overturn these small-business tax reporting provisions. Senate Democrats had previously proposed a small business carve-out, rather than a full repeal as espoused by Republicans, because they were looking for offsets to make up for revenue that would be lost.

NAHB continues to oppose all the expansions of the 1099 requirements and push for a full repeal because they are a costly and unfair administrative burden for small businesses. NAHB has submitted comments to the Treasury Department opposing the new rule, and is working within a broad coalition of business groups to seek congressional repeal.

In announcing his plans to introduce S. 3946, Baucus said he heard the message from small business owners that these reporting requirements would place too large of a paperwork burden on businesses struggling in a still-recovering economy.

“I have heard small businesses loud and clear and I am responding to their concerns,” Baucus said in a statement.

Builder Review, November 16, Published

Builder Review is the HBA of Greenville's twice monthly newsletter. Builder Review is distributed to all members and subscribers by email.

Download the latest issue of Builder Review by clicking here.

FHFA Announces No Change to Maximum Confroming Loan Limits for 2011

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced that, under terms set forth in a recently-enacted Congressional continuing resolution (Public Law Number 111-242), the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages originated in the first nine months of 2011 will remain unchanged from existing loan limits for 2010 originations. Those limits are generally $417,000 but can be as much as $729,750 in certain high cost areas in the contiguous United States.

The maximum conforming loan limit in all 46 counties in South Carolina is $417,000.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

HBA of Greenville is Conducting a Survey of the Home Builders' Legislative Agenda

Your HBA of Greenville is conducting a survey of the 2011 Home Builders' Legislative Agenda. Among the issues under consideration are extending the Multiple Lot Discount Program, reforming business licenses, and strengthening Home Builders licensing. Please participate in the survey and help your HBA refine the legislative program for next year.

Please click on this link to particpate in the survey.

If "it" affects a builder "it" will affect an Associate

My name is Michael Kurpiel and I am currently serving as NAHB’s National Associate Chairman. I am writing to for a specific reason; I need the help of associate members of the HBA throughout the Federation.

I am requesting for any and all associates, who are experiencing loss of builder business due to the Acquisition, Development, and Construction Lending crisis or appraisals, to share with me any stories you may have that demonstrate the effect that restrictions on lending to Home Builders have had on your businesses. We need to demonstrate to those in power in Washington, DC, that it is not just the builders who are affected, it is the ENTIRE building industry.

Please email me, or the Executive Director of your local HBA, with all information you can share about how the downturn in Home Building has affected your business. I will take all stories you share to NAHB staff in Government Affairs and Public Affairs.

I know how much stress you are all under and that stress is directly tied to lack of building. With the strength of two thirds of our Federation’s members fully behind our builder members, we can move towards a better tomorrow.

Regards,

Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
Director of Trade Association Relations
ProBuild
Email: kurpiel@probuild.com

National Associate Chairman
National Association of Home Builders

Thursday, November 11, 2010

HBA Annual Meeting and Associate Appreciation Recap











































Top: Mike Lowman, President of Mike Lowman Homes, Columbia, SC, and Vice President of HBA of South Carolina, speaks at the HBA of Greenville Annual Meeting.

Bottom: Howard Cox, Home Builders Insurance, receives his Super Spike award for 379 spikes from President Tom Dillard, the result of years of hard work recruiting and retaining HBA members.




The HBA of Greenville held it annual meeting and Associate Appreciation dinner this week. More than 50 members and guests gathered to recognize the association's Associate members, Spike Club members, and to do the business of the association.

Mike Lowman of Mike Lowman Homes in Columbia, SC, addressed the membership and discussed his plans for 2011 as he prepares to become president of the Home Builders Association of South Carolina. Joining Lowman was Mark Nix, Executive Director of the HBA of South Carolina.

Special guests included four members of the NAHB Student Chapter at Clemson University and their faculty advisory, Dr. Roger Liska.

The gathered members also elected the association's Board of Directors for 2011:
  • President: Wayne Moore
  • President-Elect: Hal Dillard
  • Vice President: Robert Markel, GMR
  • Treasurer: Chuck Childress
  • Associate Vice President: Scott Presley
  • Immediate Past President: Thomas Dillard, CGP
  • President’s Appointee: Richard Powers
  • Associate Director: Larry Hazenfield
  • Associate Director: Lou Hutchings
  • Builder Director: Hardy Peters
  • Builder Director: Chris Bailey
  • Builder Director: Alan Boone
  • Builder Director: Mike Freeman, GMB
  • Builder Director: Brad Thompson, CMB
  • Associate Director: Michael Cox
  • Associate Director: Jim Blume
  • Associate Director: Tom Ward
  • Associate Director: Eric Hedrick
  • Builder Director: Dan Rawls
Please congratulate and support the 2011 Board of Directors.

Please also thank our Builder sponsors for making complimentary Associate Appreciation Night possible:
  • Freewood Builders
  • Hollison Custom Homes, LLC
  • Harold Moore Builder, Inc.
  • Sadler Company, Inc., of Greenville
  • Addison Homes, LLC
  • H. Dillard Co., Inc.
  • Dillard-Jones Builders
  • Quinn Satterfield, Inc.
  • Gabriel Builders
  • First Choice Custom Homes

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Housing Recovery Expected to Gain Strength in 2011 and 2012 as More Jobs Materialize

In the face of far weaker post-recession economic growth than normal and a discouragingly anemic job market, housing will have to wait until next year and the year after for the gains it needs to dig out of its worst downturn since World War II, according to panelists participating in NAHB's Construction Forecast Webinar on Oct. 27.

While economists generally have been scaling back their earlier forecasts for housing activity this year, the good news is that the job market should improve sufficiently in 2011 to begin thawing the big freeze in household formations of the past few years and to put consumers in a brighter mood, both of which are prerequisites for boosting housing demand, they said.

Some parts of the country will recover sooner than others, the economists on the panel said, and foreclosures will linger as a problem in many of the largest housing markets. However, supply and demand may be in a healthier balance than suggested by today's high vacancy rates and even conservative demographic projections suggest that housing production will have a lot of catching up to do in the decade ahead.

Read the entire article at NAHB.org by clicking here.

One of the markets where NAHB expects stronger performance on 2011 is Greenville. Read our earlier post on the Greenville market by clicking here.

Clemson Study Says Development is Consuming Trees

Clemson University has produced another report that places the blame for sprawl on development instead of on where it should be placed: over-regulation of land use by government.

Read the entire article at GSA Business by clicking here.

ABCs of New Construction Held at the Cove at Butler Springs

Rick Quinn, Quinn Satterfield, LLC

This week 25 HBA members visited The Cove at Butler Springs to learn about modern construction techniques and how to apply that knowledge to selling new homes.

The event was sponsored by Quinn Satterfield and New Home Star. Rick Quinn led a tour of two new homes in the community and discussed the latest trends and technology for energy efficiency, site development, and construction techniques.

Federal Construction Work Opportunity

To: HBA Members

As you may remember, the contractor (Hensel Phelps Construction) for the Shaw/Charleston Air Force Base housing projects promised to hold several industry forums in our state to solicit subcontractors for the AFB housing project in SC. The goal of the meeting was to try to meet the Air Forces stated goal of hiring 70% local subcontractors.

On Tuesday Hensel Phelps held two meeting in Charleston and Columbia, and added a third meeting in Sumter at the request of the Mayor in Sumter. To put it mildly the meetings were a huge success! In both the Charleston and Columbia meetings, it was standing room only, and we estimate that roughly 350 contractors attended the forums.

The Henzel Phelps staff made it crystal clear that they wanted and needed local subcontractors. They also indicated their flexibility with small contractors. This was much appreciated by the audience. Our members were pleased with the forum and encouraged that they might get a contract from Hensel Phelps. However, it is clear that subcontractors will have to be professional and meet their deadlines on the project.

The housing projects at Sumter/Charleston AFB are expected to begin May-June 2011. Hensel Phelps is still in the process of soliciting subcontractors. HBA members still have time to participate in the project, however time is running out. Hensel Phelps is planning to close the bid process in January 2011.

To participate in the bidding process it is absolutely essential that builders register with Hensel Phelps ASAP as a subcontractor! All communication on bid information will be generated by Hensel Phelps only to the registered subcontractors. Their plan is to have the letter of intent to contact with subcontractors done in late spring and be ready to begin construction in May-June time period. There will be three bid packages available on this project: construction, demolition, and civil engineering (roads, sidewalks, etc.). Most builders would be primarily interested in the construction package. The details of the packages will be sent by e-mail to registered subcontractors in mid-December 2010.

Please encourage any HBA member that is interested in participating in the AFB Housing project to register with Hensel Phelps Construction today. They will need your contact info – phone, address, e-mail, fax – and what specialty contracts (framing, plumbing, etc) your company is interested in participating in. The Hensel Phelps contact is:

Jordan Kragor, Chief Engineer, Hensel Phelps Construction Co.
970-346-7292 (O)/ 970-346-7236 (F)
JKragor@HenselPhelps.com

Julian Barton, CAE, Director of Government Affairs
Home Builders Association of SC

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Saw Mills Cutting Lumber Production, Reducing Prices

Bracing themselves for a tough fourth quarter and beyond, sawmills in the South began cutting production and shipping from inventory at the end of third quarter, according to data released by Forest2Market Inc.

Revenue from sawmill residuals remained flat and the average composite lumber price fell by nearly 25 percent. At the same time, log costs fell just under 5 percent. By the end of September, shipment volume for southern yellow pine lumber increased as mills reduced production levels. Shipments remained higher throughout October.

Click here to read the entire article at GSA Business.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Call for Nominations for Associate Awards

It is that time of year again for you to recommend a member for our annual Builder of the Year Award and Associate of the Year Award. The awards are given to a Builder member and an Associate member each of whom freely gives of his or her time, efforts and participation in order to make the HBA of Greenville a stronger organization for all of its members. These members serve the industry through participation on HBA Committees and with special projects of the Home Builders Association. Each represents the highest level of integrity and honesty in the home building industry. Below is a list of recent recipients:

Builder of the Year:
  • Todd Usher, 2009
  • Rick Quinn, 2008
  • Ted Smith, 2007
  • Coleman Shouse, 2006
  • Ted Smith/Ron Taylor, 2005
  • Keith Smith, 2004
  • Jim Gregorie, 2003
  • Dan Rawls, 2002
  • Clyde Rector, 2001
  • Bill Fuller, 2000
Associate of the Year:
  • Eric Hedrick, 2009
  • Chuck Childress, 2008
  • Tom Ward, 2007
  • Scott Presley, 2006
  • Lou Hutchings, 2005
  • Richard Powers, 2004
  • Sand Wiygul-Bell, 2003
  • Robert Murphy, 2002
  • Gary Gilliam, 2001
  • Richard Powers, 2000
In addition, these awards also may be given to members of the association:

  • Community Service Award
  • Sales and Marketing Award
  • Membership Award
  • Spirit of the HBA Award
  • Committee Chairman of the Year Award
  • Rookie of the Year Award
These awards may be given to a political or community leader:
  • Distinguished Service Award
  • HBASC Champion of Housing Award
If you know of a member or other person who should receive one of these awards, please send your nomination to Michael Dey at mdey@hbaofgreenville.com.

New Report from NAHB Shows Most Single-Family Markets are Underbuilt


New research by NAHB Economics highlights the significant extent to which much of the U.S. single-family housing market is underbuilt following the severe decline in production that has taken place since 2006.

According to the authors, this "underbuilt" condition is present in the sense that excess or pent-up demand for new construction exists, compared to the long-run trend we would expect if housing, labor and credit markets were functioning normally and generating a normal rate of household formations. Focusing on single-family building permit data, the report shows that, while overbuilding did occur to a significant extent through the end of 2005, this condition was worked off soon afterward by record low rates of production that dropped to a million units per year below trend. Using a similar line of reasoning, the authors determine that a condition of net cumulative underbuilding now exists in 45 states.

According to the report, South Carolina is underbuilt by 5,600 units, and the nation is underbuilt by more than 2 million units.

The bottom line is, there is a significant pent-up demand that will at some point need to be worked off and begin to impact single-family housing production in a positive direction.

Click here to download and read the research report from NAHB.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

HBA Slate of Officers and Directors

Your HBA of Greenville Annual Meeting is November 11. Among the business of the meeting is the election of officers and directors for 2011.

The Nominating Committee recommends for your consideration this slate of officers and directors:
  • President (2011): Wayne Moore, Harold Moore Builder
  • President Elect (2011): Hal Dillard, H. Dillard Co., Inc.
  • Vice President (2011): Robert Markel, GMR, Hadrian Construction Co., Inc.
  • Treasurer (2011-2013): Chuck Childress, BB&T
  • Secretary (2011-2013): Coleman Shouse, Lazarus-Shouse Communities
  • Associate Vice President (2011): Scott Presley, Greer State Bank
  • Immediate Past President (2011): Thomas Dillard, CGP, Dillard-Jones Builders
  • President's Appointee (2011): Richard Powers, Piedmont Natural Gas
  • Associate Director (2011-2013): Larry Hazenfield, ProBuild
  • Associate Director (2011-2012): Lou Hutchings, GBS Lumber
  • Builder Director (2011-2013): Hardy Peters, Reedy Construction, LLC
  • Builder Director (2011-2013): Chris Bailey, Stoneledge Properties
  • Builder Director (2011-2012): Alan Boone, Advanced Renovations, LLC
  • Builder Director (2011-2012): Mike Freeman, Freewood Builders
  • Builder Director (2011): Brad Thompson, CMB, 1st Choice Custom Homes

In addition, the following directors will continue to serve in 2011:
  • Associate Director (2011-2012): Michael Cox, Home Builders Insurance
  • Associate Director (2011-2012): Jim Blume, First Savers Bank
  • Associate Director (2011): Tom Ward, Home Team Pest Defense
  • Associate Director (2011): Eric Hedrick, Cornerstone Contractors
  • Builder Director (2011): Dan Rawls, Dan Rawls Co.
Click here to register for the Annual Membership Meeting and Associate Appreciation.

HBA Bylaws Amendment Proposed

Your HBA of Greenville Bylaws Committee has recommended three amendments to the association's Bylaws. The amendments are:

Amendment 1, add to the end of Article XIII (Voting, Proxies, and Quorums) of the Bylaws a new section:

The President may conduct meetings of the Board of Directors by electronic means. Electronic means includes telephone conference call, internet-based video conference, fax, or email. Actions taken in meetings held by electronic means shall have the same effect as a meeting with the Board of Directors physically assembled and meeting in a common location.

Meetings conducted by electronic means are limited to one topic, must meet the notice requirements of Article VII, Section 4 of these Bylaws, and may not take the place of regularly-scheduled meetings. The quorum requirements of the Bylaws also must be followed.

Business conducted according to this Section will be recorded in minutes of the meeting and presented to the Board of Directors by the Secretary for the approval of the Board of Directors. When taking a vote by electronic means, the President must poll all board members with voting privileges.

When meeting by conference call or internet-based video conference, the meeting will be conducted in the same manner as a meeting in which the members are physically assembled.

When email or fax is used to take a vote, the President must establish a deadline for responding to the request for vote and the deadline must be at least five (5) days following transmittal of the business to the voting members of the Board of Directors. The deadline to vote must be included in the request for a vote. Any votes received after the deadline will not be counted. Response to the request for vote must be either “yes”, “no” or “I desire a discussion”. If three members of the Board of Directors request discussion of the topic, the special meeting will be declared adjourned by the President and the matter must be added to the agenda of the next meeting of the Board of Directors. Members casting their vote when requested by email or fax may respond in the following manner: by email, fax, telephone, or in person at the association’s office. All votes will be collected by the Executive Vice President. After the deadline for the vote has passed, the Executive Vice President will report the results of the voting to the Secretary, who will approve the results and report them to the Board of Directors.

This section also applies to any standing committee, Council Board of Trustees, or committee or task force properly formed by the Board of Directors.

RATIONALE: State law requires that the bylaws allow for meeting and voting by electronic means in order for meetings and votes to be held electronically. This amendment will satisfy state law and allow the Board of Directors and committees to meet by conference call as well as allow for voting on non-controversial matters by electronic ballot.

Amendment 2, Add to the end of Article X (Board of Directors), Section 5, of the Bylaws:

If an Officer or Director has missed consecutive meetings of either the Board of Directors or the Executive Committee, the Officer or Director is ineligible to vote until he or she has attended one meeting without voting privileges of the governing body at which he or she has missed consecutive meetings.

RATIONALE: The bylaws are proposed to be strengthened the voting rights of a member of the Board of Directors who has missed two meetings in a row. The Bylaws Committee believes that consistency of attendance is important to good association governance and this amendment will encourage directors to consistently attend meetings of the Board of Directors.

Amendment 3, Amend Article X (Board of Directors), Sec. 7., of the Bylaws as follows:

(a) Regular meetings of the Board of Directors shall be held each month quarterly and may meet at other times when a meeting is called in compliance with Section 7.b. of this Article. The President may cancel meetings of the Board of Directors when there is a lack of business to conduct. However, the Board of Directors must meet at least ten (10) four (4) times in a year and may not fail to meet for two four consecutive months.

RATIONALE: This amendment will allow the Board of Directors to meet less frequently while still fully addressing the association’s business. The Board of Directors would like to meet quarterly for regular business and will meet at least two additional times during the year for strategic planning and orientation. This change is consistent with best practice for association boards of directors and is intended to be more efficient with the time of volunteers and staff.

The Bylaws amendments will be considered at the association's Annual Membership Meeting on November 11. To register for the Annual Meeting, click here.

Addison Homes Receives ENERGY STAR® Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded Addison Homes, LLC, with the ENERGY STAR® Excellence in Efficient Homes Award for Five Year Sustained Commitment. The award recognizes Addison Homes' ongoing commitment to build ENERGY STAR®-qualified homes and to educate consumers and new home buyers about the benefits of building sustainable, energy efficient homes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Vacancy for Builder on S.C. Housing Authority Board

The Home Builders Association of South Carolina has issued a call for applicants for a vacant position on the Board of Directors of the S.C. State Housing, Finance, and Development Authority. The position is for a professional with home builder and/or development experience. The term is for four years and the individual serving is not eligible to be awarded any funds for housing authority projects.

If you are interested in serving in this capacity, please contact Mark Nix at the HBA of South Carolina at 803-771-7408.

Homeownership Rate Falls to Lowest Level Since 1999

The nation's homeownership rate is at the lowest level in more than a decade, hampered by a rise in foreclosures and weak demand for housing.

The percentage of households that owned their homes was unchanged at 66.9 percent in the July-September quarter, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. That's the same as the April-June quarter.

The last time the rate was lower was in 1999, when the rate was 66.7 percent.

Click on this link to read the entire article at Yahoo! Business.

Monday, November 1, 2010

HBA of Greenville Builder Ballot

It is the election season. Have you noticed? The General Election is Tuesday, November 2. Polls open in South Carolina at 7 a.m. and remain open until 7 p.m.

Please vote on November 2.

NAHB BuildPAC has contributed to the following candidates:
  • U.S. Senate: Jim DeMint (R)
  • U.S. House District 3: Jeff Duncan (R)
  • U.S. House District 4: Trey Gowdy (R)
South Carolina Builders PAC has contributed to the following candidates:
  • Governor: Nikki Haley (R) and Vince Sheheen (D)
  • Lt. Governor: Ken Ard (R)
  • Attorney General: Alan Wilson (R)
  • Treasurer: Curtis Loftis (R)
  • Agriculture Commissioner: Hugh Weathers (R)
  • S.C. House District 2: Bill Sandifer (R)
  • S.C. House District 19: Dwight Loftis (R)
  • S.C. House District 20: Dan Hamilton (R)
  • S.C. House District 22: Wendy Nanney (R)
  • S.C. House District 23: Chandra Dillard (D)
  • S.C. House District 24: Bruce Bannister (R)
  • S.C. House District 26: Judy Gilstrap (D)
  • S.C. House District 27: Garry Smith (R)
  • S.C. House District 28: Eric Bedingfield (R)
  • Greenville County Council District 26: Dan Rawls (R)
  • Greenville County Council District 28: Fred Payne (R)
Your Home Builders Association of Greenville cooperates with the Home Builders of South Carolina to raise and contribute funds to candidates for elected offices in South Carolina through the South Carolina Builders PAC. Eighty percent of the funds we raise in Greenville for S.C. Builders PAC are directed by the HBA of Greenville for local and legislative races. The remaining 20 percent is used for statewide races like Governor and Attorney General.

In addition, your HBA of Greenville assists NAHB in raising funds for BuildPAC. All of the funds raised for BuildPAC are used for Federal races.

The Legislative Committee surveys and interviews candidates and makes recommendations for supporting those candidates to the HBA of Greenville Board of Directors, which makes the final decision on local and legislative races. The S.C. Builders PAC Trustees determines contributions for statewide races, and the BuildPAC Trustees determines the contributions for national races.

As a matter of Policy, NAHB's BuildPAC does not contribute to candidates for President or Vice President.

South Carolina ranked fifth for pro-business climate

Site selection magazine ranks South Carolina fifth in the country for pro-business climate. Number one on the list is South Carolina.

Read the entire report in GSA Business by clicking here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

HBA Annual Meeting and Associate Appreciation

Your HBA of Greenville will meet for its Annual Membership Meeting on November 11. At this meeting we will:
  • Recognize our Associate Members
  • Elect the 2011 Board of Directors
  • Vote on three proposed changes to the Bylaws
Our guest speaker is Mike Lowman, President, Mike Lowman Homes in Columbia and President Elect of the Home Builders Association of South Carolina. Mike will report on the work of HBASC and other trends important to South Carolina's home builders.

The event will feature a social hour followed by dinner, our speaker, and the business of the association.

Click here to register for the Annual Meeting and Associate Appreciation dinner.


Our Annual Membership Meeting and Associate Appreciation is sponsored by our Builder members. Our sponsors so far include:
  • Freewood Builders
  • Hollison Custom Homes, LLC
  • Harold Moore Builder, Inc.
  • Sadler Company, Inc., of Greenville
  • Addison Homes, LLC
  • H. Dillard Co., Inc.
  • Dillard-Jones Builders
  • Quinn Satterfield, Inc.
  • Gabriel Builders
  • First Choice Custom Homes
Builder members, please consider sponsoring. To sponsor, click on the registration button and select Builder Sponsor.

Associate members are free compliments of the Builder member sponsors.