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 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, 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.

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 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.