Friday, July 9, 2010

NAHB Study Demonstrates Value of Housing Tax Incentives

A new study by the National Association of Home Builders demonstrates that households across the economic spectrum benefit from housing tax incentives. This research counters the often-heard but erroneous claim that the mortgage interest deduction almost exclusively benefits high-income households.

The study, which was authored by NAHB tax economist Robert Dietz, Ph.D., supplements previous NAHB research regarding housing tax incentives, explores the problems with government methods of measuring the size of housing tax expenditures, and re-examines the income distribution of the mortgage interest and real estate tax deductions.

A multitude of descriptive statistics in the report demonstrate that the housing-related tax deductions, the mortgage interest and real estate tax deductions, strongly benefit not just average home buyers but also younger households who tend to be recent home buyers with larger mortgage debt. This is true in terms of aggregate amounts claimed on tax forms, average deduction amounts, and shares of taxpayer income.

The paper's conclusions suggest that proposals to change these deductions need to take into account the generational consequences, particularly with respect to first-time home buyers, as well as the impacts on modest-income households.

You can access the study for free by clicking here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

NAHB's Top 10 Actions To Benefit Members in May

These are the Top 10 Actions taken by NAHB to benefit members in May:

1. Credit Crisis: NAHB worked with members of Congress to draft the Residential Construction Lending Act. The bill is pending.
2. Cash for Caulkers: NAHB has taken steps to ensure that members will be tapped to participate in the work resulting from legislation that will offer tax-free rebates for residential energy-efficiency improvements. The bill is pending.
3. Financial Regulatory Overhaul: NAHB was actively involved in passing the financial regulatory overhaul bill, Restoring American Financial Stability Act. The bill has passed Congress.
4. Green Multiple Listing Service Toolkit: NAHB developed a toolkit to help real estate appraisers provide more reliable valuations of homes with energy-efficient features.
5. Study demonstrates benefits of housing tax incentives: NAHB's Economics and Housing Policy Group recently completed a study that demonstrates that households across the economic spectrum benefit from housing tax incentives.
6. Technical Assistance Hotline: NAHB has implemented a hotline where HBA members can find out about building products, techniques, technologies, and best practices. www.nahbrc/techassist
7. Construction Forecast Conference: NAHB's semi-annual Construction Forecast Conference is held in the Spring and the Fall, and is now available via webcast.
8. Homebuyer Tax Credit: The credit expired on April 30. NAHB has developed a useful brochure called "Opportunity Knocks" that outlines why now is a great time to buy a new home.
9. OSHA Workplace Safety Agreement: NAHB and OSHA renewed a formal agreement to work together to provide home builders with information, guidance, and access to training to protect your workers on the job site.
10. Webinar on Using Social Media: The NAHB Professional Women in Building Council hosted a webinar to teach builders how to use social media to build their brand and sell more homes.

HBA of Greenville members benefit from a three-in-one membership. As an HBA member, a portion of your dues are sent to NAHB and your receive membership benefits like those above from the National Association of Home Builders.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

NAHB Offers Brochure for Consumers

Now that the home buyer tax credit program has expired, it is important to emphasize to today's homeuyers all of the great reasons why now is a great time to buy a new home.

With this in mind, NAHB's popular virtual brochure for consumers "Opportunity Knocks" has been updated and is ready for home builders to download and use.

The brochure highlights the federal tax benefits of owning a home, the difference that even a small increase in interest rates can make on a monthly mortgage payment, and the solid value of homeownership over the long-term. It's available as a PDF file that NAHB members can download for free at

HBA members are encouraged to post this resource to your websites, and to print it for distribution in your sales offices.

Usher Re-Elected Chairman of Greenville County Planning Commision

Todd Usher, GMB, CAPS, CGB, CMB, CGP, LEED AP, was re-elected Chairman of the Greenville County Planning Commission in May. Usher has been a member of the Planning Commission since 2007, and was first elected chairman in 2009.

Usher is a Past President of the HBA of Greenville and currently serves as the President's Appointee, an officer position within the association. He is a member of the association's Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and also serves as chairman of the association's Public Relations Committee. Usher also is chairman of the Education Committee of the Home Builders Association of South Carolina.

Usher is President of Addison Homes, LLC. He was honored by the HBA of Greenville as the 2009 Builder of the Year.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

NAHB Offers New Technical Assistance Hotline

NAHB and the NAHB Research Center have teamed up to provide a Technical Assist Hotline where members can call with questions about building products, techniques, technologies, and best practices. This outstanding free service that is designed to assist NAHB’s builder, remodeler and trade contractor members with hands-on construction issues.

Members can call 888-NAHB-MEM (888-624-2636) from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM EST, Monday through Friday. Alternatively, questions can be submitted online at

Technical experts will respond to calls and online hotline inquiries by the next business day. Callers simply provide a specific question, HBA/NAHB affiliation, and contact information in their message.

The Technical Assist Hotline is just one more way that NAHB membership pays for itself.

Pollution Liability Insurance—Why You Need Coverage

Recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began enforcing new lead paint safe regulations for contractors performing work on homes, schools, or child care businesses.

While enforcement of the licensing portion of the regulation has been delayed until October 1, 2010, compliance with the work-site practices of the regulation are in effect. All contractors doing renovation, repair, or painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 are required to follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination on the work site.

This new law does not affect the way most insurance companies handle coverage. Lead in lead-based paint is considered a pollutant and is excluded by the pollution liability exclusion of virtually all contractors’ insurance policies.

To protect yourself and your business, you should carry an insurance policy that protects you and your business against claims that arise out of lead contamination and other pollutants. Contact your insurance carrier today to discuss your insurance coverage and make sure that you and your business are protected by insurance that covers pollution liability.

Michael Cox
Home Builders Insurance, A Palmetto Affiliate
Director, HBA of Greenville