Thursday, December 29, 2011

HBA of Greenville Announces New President and Board of Directors

HBA of Greenville Announces New President and Board of Directors


Greenville, SC – The Home Builders Association of Greenville announces the election of the Association’s 2012 Board of Directors and President, Hal Dillard of H. Dillard Company.  All will be sworn in on January 19, 2012, at the association's Membership Meeting and Awards Luncheon.

“Our local association is committed to assisting the community in finding businesses that are reputable, local, and qualified to service all of their home-related needs in upstate South Carolina,” said Dillard.

Newly Elected 2012 Board of Director:
President, Hal Dillard, H. Dillard Co., Inc.
President Elect, Robert Markel, CGR, Hadrian Construction Company
Vice President, Rick Quinn, Quinn-Satterfield
President’s Appointee, Lou Hutchings, GBS Building Supply
Director, Bob Barreto, GBS Building Supply
Director, Susan Vernon, Dillard-Jones Builders
Director, Seabrook Marchant, The Marchant Company
Director, Deana Long, Builders First Source
Director, Indu Vakharia, Unique Builders
Director, Joe Hoover, Ryan Homes

Continuing members of the 2012 Board of Director:
Associate Vice-President, Scott Presley, Greer State Bank
Past President, Wayne Moore, Harold Moore Builder
Treasurer, Chuck Childress, BB&T
Secretary, Scott Lynch, Hollison Custom Homes
Director, Chris Bailey, Stoneledge Properties
Director, Michael Cox, Home Builders Insurance
Director, Jim Blume, First Savers Bank
Director, Alan Boone, Advanced Renovations
Director, Mike Freeman, GMB, Freewood Builders
Director, Larry Hazenfield, ProBuild

“We are excited to end 2011 on a high note and begin gearing up for a successful new year,” said Michael Dey, Executive Vice President of the HBA of Greenville. “I am confident that our Board of Directors, with the leadership of Hal Dillard, will lead our organization toward achieving our goals.”

Dillard begins his term as President after a successful year as President-Elect and several years of serving diligently on the Board of Directors.


The Home Builders Association of Greenville is a professional trade association of 400-member companies representing the home building and light commercial construction industry in Greenville and Pickens counties.

Click here to read the press release on the HBA's new leadership team at GSABusiness.com.
Click here to read the press release on the HBA's new leadership team at SwampFox.ws.

Rethink Real Estate: 4 predictions about 2012 real estate market

On the "mood of the market," Tara Nicholle-Nelson, a real estate author, analyst, and commentator, recently offered four predictions for the 2012 real estate market.  Remember, real estate is local, and these predictions have a national perspective.

  1. Even more foreclosures
  2. REOs and short sales will become the new normal
  3. So-called "smart cities" will do well (could Greenville be one of these?)
  4. Consumers will get hopeless (a good thing?)

NAHB: EPA will step up inspections, enforcement of Lead Paint Rule in 2012

The Environmental Protection Agency is relying on tips and has begun stepping up its inspections and enforcement of the Lead: Renovation, Repair & Painting (RRP) rule, an associate director with the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance said at a free webinar hosted by the NAHB Remodelers on Dec. 14.

While only three lead-paint rule enforcement actions were taken during fiscal 2011, the EPA’s Don Lott said 2012 will be much busier. He noted that the agency already has conducted 1,000 compliance inspections, with more to follow.

Builder: Mungo Company named America's Best Builder

The Mungo Company has been named 2012 America's Best Builder in the category with the highest number of closings.  Four categories are honored in the America's Best Builder program.

Read the entire release on the America's Best Builder honor of the Mungo Company at mungo.com by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Greenville News: Gordon Seay feature

The Greenville News featured HBA member Gordon Seay in its Christmas Eve edition last week.  Seay is the new president of the South Carolina Realtors Association.  Gordon has held various posts with the HBA of Greenville, including service as an ex officio advisory member of the HBA Board of Directors.  He currently serves on the HBA Legislative Committee.

Read the entire Greenville News article about Gordon Seay at SCRealtors.org by clicking here.

BuilderOnline: 81 percent of Americans Say Homeownership is Still Part of the American Dream

A recent survey by Yahoo! Real Estate found that 81 percent of American still consider homeownership art of the American Dream.  In addition , 74 percent consider buying a home a good investment.

Read the results of the Yahoo! survey at BuilderOnline.com by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

NewGeography: South Dominates U.S. Population Growth

Population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau show that Southern states continue to dominate the country in terms of population and growth during the last year.  According to New Geography, Southern states accounted for more than half of the population growth from 2000 to 2011 while having just one third of the country's total population.  In fact, 95 percent of all migration between states resulted in migration to Southern states.

Read the entire report a NewGeography.com by clicking here.

ABC: Slow Growth in Commercial Construction in 2012

Associated Builders and Contractors, a trade group representing commercial construction interests, predicts slow growth in commercial construction activity in 2012.  Nonresidential construction spending is expect to increase 2.4 percent in 2012 following a decline of 2.4 percent in 2011.

Read the entire report at GSABusiness.com by clicking here.


Federal Reserve: South Carolina and Michigan have the best economic outlooks

According to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, South Carolina is one of two states that are expected to a growth rate of 4.5 percent or better in the Fed's coincident index, or gross state product, in the first six months of 2012.

Both South Carolina and Michigan top the Fed's list of prospects for rapid growth in the next few months.  Both state's have experienced significant improvements in employment.

The Greenville News reported on this story over the weekend.  Read their report at greenvilleonline.com by clicking here.

NPR's Planet Money: 2 million construction jobs lost in recession; only 1 million coming back

NPR's Planet Money, with the assistance of Economist Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute, recently looked at the construction jobs lost over the last 4 years and estimated the number that will likely come back when the economy improves.  Their finds are striking: 2 million jobs were lost, or a quarter of all construction jobs, and only half will come back.  What is even more striking is that while construction makes up just 5.6 percent of total jobs in America, they make up more than 30 percent of the jobs lost.

Read the entire report at NPR.org's Planet Money blog by clicking here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

FHFA: house price index drops slightly; Greenville fairing better than state, nation

U.S. house prices fell 0.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from September to October of this year according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s monthly House Price Index. For the 12 months ending in October, U.S. prices fell 2.8 percent. The U.S. index is 19.2 percent below its April 2007 peak and roughly the same as the February 2004 index level.

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.

Greenville Area Fairs Better Than State, Nation
For South Carolina, houses prices peaked in the first quarter of 2008 and have fallen 14.8 percent, dropping from 201.64 to 172.03.  For the Greenville-Mauldin-Easley MSA, house prices peaked in the first quarter of 2009 and have fallen 6.8 percent, dropping from 171.41 to 159.8.  Greenville house prices are at roughly the the fourth quarter 2006 level.

Below is the data for all MSAs in South Carolina from the peak in each market until the third quarter of 2011:
  • Anderson: down 14.5 percent
  • Charleston: down 18.6 percent 
  • Columbia: down 7.2 percent 
  • Greenville: down 6.8 percent 
  • Myrtle Beach/Conway: down 28.5 percent 
  • Rock Hill: down 13.1 percent
  • Spartanburg: down 10.2 percent  
  • SC: down 14.8 percent  
  • U.S.: down 19.2 percent

FHFA: mortgage rates rose slightly in November

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) this week 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 4.22 percent based on loans closed in November. This is an increase of 0.03 percent from the previous month.

The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loans of $417,000 or less increased 4 basis points to 4.40 percent in November. These rates are calculated from the FHFA’s Monthly Interest Rate Survey of purchase-money mortgages (see technical note). These results reflect loans closed during the November 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 4.20 percent in November, up 3 basis points from 4.17 percent in October. The effective interest rate, which reflects the amortization of initial fees and charges, was 4.31 percent in November, up 2 basis points from 4.29 percent in October.

This report contains no data on adjustable-rate mortgages due to insufficient sample size. Initial fees and charges were 0.78 percent of the loan balance in November, down 0.05 percent from 0.83 in October. Thirty-four percent of the purchase-money mortgage loans originated in November were "no-point" mortgages, up six percent from the share in October. The average term was 28.5 years in November, down 0.2 years from 28.7 years in October. The average loan-to-price ratio in November was 77.1 percent, down 1.3 percent from 78.4 percent in October. The average loan amount was $220,500 in November, up $2,000 from $218,500 in October.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

SC jobless rate falls to 9.9%

South Carolina’s jobless rate in November dropped to 9.9% as the number of workers grew by nearly 10,000, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce reported on Monday. Employment gains were led by the trade, transportation and utilities sector with an increase of more 8,800 workers during the month. About 7,100 of those workers were hired in retail trade, the agency said. Read the entire article from the Columbia Regional Business Report.

SC ranks 37th in quarterly growth

The state of South Carolina showed relatively no change in average personal income growth for the third quarter of 2011 and ranked 37th in growth in the United States, according to estimates released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis on Monday. However, South Carolina exceeded the national average growth in seven of 24 business sectors that were analyzed. The largest growth was seen in health care and social assistance, where the state realized a 1.6% increase compared with the previous quarter. The national average is 1.4%. The state’s increase represents $158 million above second quarter earnings. Read the entire article from GSA Business.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

HBA of Greenville Office Schedule for the Holidays

Your HBA of Greenville staff and Board of Directors wishes each of our members and customers a happy Hanukkah, a merry Christmas, and a joyful and prosperous new year.

The HBA of Greenville office will be closed for the Christmas holiday:

  • Friday, December 23
  • Monday, December 26
The HBA of Greenville office will be closed for the New Years holiday:
  • Friday, December 30
  • Monday, January 2
If there is an emergency and you need to reach a member of our staff while the office is closed, please dial 864-735-7698.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

NAHB: Homeownership Works Rally at the S.C. State House on January 12

UPDATE: Speaker Newt Gingrich will appear at the Homeownership Works Rally.

The National Association of Home Builders is planning a rally at the South Carolina State House in January in to support the housing industry and homeownership in America—The American Dream.  Every member of the Home Builders Association of Greenville is encouraged to travel to the State House in Columbia to participate.
  • Homeownership Works Rally
  • Thursday, January 12, 12 noon
  • South Carolina State House, Columbia, SC
  • Presented by the National Association of Home Builders
The goal of this event is to publicize the state and national impact of homeownership and the housing industry.  The Republican Presidential Preference Primary will take place less than two weeks after the rally.  Numerous Republican candidates for President of the United States will be in South Carolina campaigning the week of the rally, and one or more are expected to attend the rally.  They will be followed closely by the national media.  This rally is an opportunity for Home Builders to help their National Association of Home Builders to showcase the importance of homeownership and new home construction to America.

The rally, which starts at 1 p.m., is preceded by lunch on the State House grounds at 12 noon.

Please let your HBA of Greenville know your intentions about attending this rally by registering.  We will plan to arrange transportation either by bus or carpool, depending on the level of participation.  Please register as early as possible so we can plan accordingly.  Click here to register at HBAofGreenville.com to participate in the Homeownership Works Rally at the South Carolina State House.


Federal Home Loan Bank Chief Business Officer will Speak at January Membership Meeting

Make plans to attend the January Membership Meeting and Awards Luncheon.  Our speaker will be Robert F. Dozier, Jr., Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer of the Federal Home Loan Bank Atlanta.

  • Membership Meeting and Awards Luncheon
  • Thursday, January 19, 11:30 a.m.
  • TD Convention Center
  • Sponsor: Piedmont Natural Gas
  • Speaker: Robert F. Dozier, Jr., Federal Home Loan Bank Atlanta
Dozier will discuss trends in banking, particularly as they impact residential construction and development.  Also on the agenda will be the installation of our 2012 Board of Directors and announcement and recognition of our 2011 Builder of the Year and Associate of the Year.

Click here to register for the January Membership Meeting and Awards Luncheon at HBAofGreenville.com.

Robert Dozier oversees FHLBank Atlanta’s Member Sales and Trading, Community Investment Services, Corporate Communications, and Government and Industry Relations functions.  Prior to joining FHLBank Atlanta in 2011, Dozier was president and chief operating officer for Homeowners Mortgage Enterprises (HME), a subsidiary of CoastalStates Bank, where he began as a loan officer in 1992. Dozier also served on the board of directors for CoastalSouth Bancshares, the holding company of CoastalStates Bank, and the board of directors for FHLBank Atlanta from 2002 to 2004. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of South Carolina.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Girder Span Review is Creating Confusion in South Carolina

The load-carry capacity of Southern Yellow Pine has come into question in recent weeks, and a regulatory body is currently reviewing a proposal to reduce the spanning capacity of Southern Yellow Pine by up to 39 percent.

Late last week the Chairman of the South Carolina Building Codes Council, Greg Parsons, PE, sent out an email that prematurely states that the spanning capacity of Southern Yellow Pine has already been reduced.

The Southern Pine Inspection Bureau is currently reviewing is 1991-published design values for Southern Yellow Pine and is expected to issue a ruling on January 5, 2012, as to the load carrying capacity of Southern Yellow Pine.  However, no change in the rule will be valid in South Carolina until the South Carolina Building Code Council takes action.

Currently in South Carolina, the span tables that are approved and in force include those in the 2006 International Residential Code and as an alternative, an "Altnernative to IRC Table R503.5 (1)."  Scroll to Page 14 for the table.

Wall Street Journal: Realtors to Restate Home Sale Estimates

The National Association of Realtors announced this week that it will restate its estimates of existing home sales for the past four years.  The group said its overstated estimate of existing home sales was caused by reliance on inaccurate data from local multiple listing services, and some sales being counted more than once.

Read the full report at the Wall Street Journal by clicking here.

UPDATE: CNBC weighs in, says numbers may be 20 percent high.  Click here to read the CNBC.com report.
UPDATE: Fox Business News weighs.  Click here to read the foxbusiness.com report.

Federal Reserve: Speculative Investors Played a Larger Role in Housing Bubble than Previously Thought

A new federal report shows that speculative real estate investors played a larger role than originally thought in driving the housing bubble that led to record foreclosures and sent economies plummeting in Nevada, California, Arizona, Florida and other states. Researchers with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that investors who used low-down-payment, subprime credit to purchase multiple residential properties helped inflate home prices and are largely to blame for the recession.

Friday, December 9, 2011

NAHB: Flawed Appraisals Killing Home Sales, Hampering Housing Recovery

One out of three builders are reporting losing signed sales contracts during the preceding six months because appraisals on their homes are less than the contract sales price, according to a recent nationwide survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

“The inappropriate use of distressed and foreclosed sales as comparables in determining new home values is needlessly driving down home prices, killing home sales, causing more workers to lose their jobs and delaying a housing and economic recovery,” said NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen, a home builder from Reno, Nev.

Too often, due to faulty appraisal practices, brand new homes with sparkling appliances and interior upgrades get compared to a distressed property that has been sitting vacant and in disrepair. The result, in many cases has been that the new house winds up getting appraised at less than the cost of construction.

That is precisely what is occurring in today’s marketplace, according to the NAHB survey, where a full 60 percent of respondents reported they were experiencing appraisals coming in below their contract sales price.

Of those reporting that they had encountered this problem, 53 percent said the appraisal amount was actually less than the cost of building the home.

“This is not only unfair and unreasonable, but it perpetuates the cycle of declining home values, drives more home owners underwater, harms local economic activity and acts as an obstacle to the recovery of the housing market,” said Nielsen.

These appraisal practices are a major contributing factor to the current acquisition, development and construction (AD&C) lending crisis that has choked off credit for home builders and threatens to prolong the current housing downturn.

Falling appraised values for land and subdivisions under development have led some financial institutions to stop lending to developers and builders, to demand additional equity and even to call performing loans.

Since Sept. 2009, NAHB has held four appraisal summits in Washington with representatives of federal banking regulators, the appraisal industry, the housing finance industry, the real estate and housing sectors and others to find solutions that will allow appraisers to develop realistic valuations based on sales that are truly comparable.

The need to give top priority to addressing the complexity of property valuations in distressed markets and impediments to the flow of appropriate information on homes between appraisers and interested parties was discussed during the most recent summit, which occurred on Oct. 19.

“Major reforms in appraisal practices and oversight are needed to ensure that appraisals accurately reflect true market values and don’t contribute to price volatility or harm aspiring home owners and move-up buyers,” said Nielsen. “We will continue to work with all stakeholders in this debate to find solutions.”

With the decline in home prices appearing to have ended or be coming to an end in most parts of the country, resolving the appraisal and credit crunch issues remain a top priority for the association.

NAHB’s latest Improving Markets Index has shown modest signs of improvement in scattered housing markets where employment is gaining and distressed properties are not as numerous.

New-home construction stands ready to serve as an engine for economic recovery. Building 100 single-family homes creates more than 300 full-time jobs and provides $8.9 million in federal, state and local tax revenues.

“Resolving inappropriate appraisal practices and restoring the flow of credit to home builders will not only help to put America back to work, it will provide badly needed tax revenues that is essential for local governments to support schools, police and firefighters in communities across the land,” said Nielsen.

NAHB: Index Shows Continued Improvement for Apartment and Condominium Market

The Multifamily Production Index (MPI), a leading indicator for the multifamily market, released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) today showed continued improvement for the fifth consecutive quarter for the apartment and condominium housing market.

The MPI, which tracks the sentiment of builders and developers about the conditions of the multifamily market on a scale of 0 to 100, increased from 44.4 in the second quarter to 47.3 in the third quarter—the highest reading since the fourth quarter of 2005.

The index provides a composite measure of three key elements of the multifamily housing market: construction of low-rent units, market-rate rental units and “for-sale" units, or condominiums. The index and all of its components are scaled so that any number over 50 indicates that more respondents report conditions are improving than report conditions are getting worse. In the third quarter of 2011, the MPI component tracking builder and developer perceptions of market-rate rental properties recorded an all-time high of 63.8, while low-rent units remained steady at 50.1. For-sale units rose to 31.9, the highest recording since the second quarter of 2006.

“Multifamily construction continues to be the bright spot in the overall housing market,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “While household formations have been below trend, those who are forming new households are becoming renters and this trend is likely to continue until consumers’ confidence returns.”

“Apartments and condominiums play an integral role in the overall housing market, now more than ever,” said Stillman Knight, chairman of NAHB’s Multifamily Council Board of Trustees and president and CEO of the Knight Company of Alexandria, Va. “The construction of these units not only brings jobs to local communities, but also provides an adequate stock of housing for areas with rapid population growth.”

Looking forward to the next six months, builder and developer expectations improved in the third quarter for market-rate rental properties and for-sale properties, up to 67.2 and 37.3, respectively. Expectations for low-rent units decreased slightly, to 50.2.

The Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI), which measures the multifamily housing industry's perception of vacancies, decreased from 36.1 in the second quarter to 35.1 in the third quarter. With the MVI, lower numbers indicate fewer vacancies. The MVI has improved considerably since reaching a peak of 70.2 in the second quarter of 2009.

“NAHB’s Multifamily Production Index and Multifamily Vacancy Index have emerged as leading indicators for the multifamily market,” Crowe said. “For example, the MVI began to improve strongly in the third quarter of 2009, one quarter before a similar trend emerged in the Census Bureau’s rental vacancy rate for buildings with at least five apartments. Although the Census shows a slight surge in rental vacancy rates in the latest quarter, our survey suggests that this will only be a temporary setback.”

For data tables on the MPI and MVI, visit www.nahb.org/mms.

IBS: Special Session with Fed Chairman Ben Bernake Planned

Attendees of the 2012 International Builders Show (IBS) will have the exclusive opportunity to hear Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke deliver remarks during a special session at the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) board of directors meeting on Friday, February 10 at 12:30 pm.

The event, held in the Valencia Ballroom of the Orange County Convention Center, will have limited general seating available on a first-come, first-served basis.

WHEN:
Friday, Feb. 10, 2012
2:30 p.m. ET

WHERE:
Orange County Convention Center
Valencia Ballroom
Orlando, Fla.

TO ATTEND:
The special session with Chairman Bernanke is open to all registered attendees of the 2012 International Builders Show; however seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. To register for IBS, please visit www.BuildersShow.com/Register.

NAHB: Persistent Tight Lending Conditions for Home Builders Threaten Economic Recovery

The commercial banks on which home builders and developers largely rely to finance their projects continued in this year’s third quarter to hold tight reins on acquisition, development and construction loans (AD&C), according to the most recent quarterly survey by NAHB’s Economics and Housing Policy Group on the availability of credit to the housing industry.

“Restoring the flow of credit to housing is critical for the industry to rebound, provide jobs and boost the economy,” said NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen, a home builder from Reno, Nev.

More than half of the single-family builders and developers surveyed by NAHB indicated they had decided to put any new construction or land activity on hold until the financing climate improves.

This has broad repercussions for housing and the economy. With inventories of new homes nearly depleted in many markets, builders should be gearing up to meet demand, create new jobs and keep the expansion moving forward. Unfortunately, production remains stymied because builders in these locations cannot get credit from lending institutions to begin work on new homes.
In normal times, housing accounts for more than 17 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Constructing 100 new-homes generates more than 300 full-time jobs and $8.9 million in local, state and federal tax revenue that supports local schools and communities across the land.

“There can be no economic recovery without a housing recovery,” said Nielsen. “While NAHB’s Improving Market Index shows several housing markets around the nation are slowly starting to mend, a full-fledged revival will not take hold until we resolve the ongoing credit problems for home builders.”

NAHB has been working to obtain a legislative solution on Capitol Hill.

On May 5, Reps. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) and Brad Miller (D-N.C.) introduced H.R. 1755, the Home Construction Lending Regulatory Improvement Act of 2011, to address specific regulatory impediments to the flow of credit needed by home builders. That measure currently has 80 cosponsors, and NAHB is seeking a companion bill in the Senate.

Of the minority of builders who sought AD&C loans in the third quarter, few saw improvement in the lending climate over the previous quarter and a significant share saw conditions continue to deteriorate.

Forty-eight percent of those polled said they had looked for financing for single-family construction in the third quarter.

Only 8 percent said the availability of financing for single-family projects was getting better (compared to the previous quarter), 61 percent said it was unchanged and 31 percent reported it had worsened.

Survey respondents who indicated that lenders were clamping down further on credit availability in the third quarter noted several ways in which the tightening was occurring:
  • 77 percent said lenders were reducing the amount they were willing to lend. 
  • 75 percent reported seeing the allowable loan-to-value ratio being lowered. 
  • 66 percent found lenders who were not making any new real estate loans. 
  • 63 percent said they encountered lenders who were requiring personal guarantees or collateral not related to the project.
Lenders most often told builders they were tightening on loans because the regulators were forcing them to do so.

Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed said they were given this reason for restrictions on new AD&C loans and 52 percent heard it was the reason for tightening on outstanding loans.

Monday, December 5, 2011

New HBA Member Service: Quarterly Economic Report

Your HBA of Greenville has released its first quarterly economic report.  Produced in partnership with RESH Marketing and sponsored by Clark's Services, the report will provide HBA members with up-to-date information about the Upstate housing market in an easy-to-consume five-minute video format.

The report is presented by Joseph VonNesson, PhD., CMP, Director of the Real Estate Center at the University of South Carolina Moore School of Business.

A key finding in this quarter's report is the relatively low component of new construction to existing construction in total home sales.  At present, just 17 percent of total housing sales are new construction in Greenville, compared to 25 percent or more in other markets in South Carolina.

Watch the full Upstate Third Quarter 2011 Economic Report at HBAofGreenville.com by clicking here.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Clemson's Bruce Yandle: "no meaningful recovery in state unemployment until construction revives"

In his monthly economic digest, Clemson University Economist Bruce Yandle analyzes unemployment statistics for South Carolina and the nation.  His analysis points to the fall off of employment in the state since 2008 of 78,000 jobs, resulting in a statewide unemployment rate of 10.5 percent.  He also analyzes unemployment in the construction sector, where employment fell 50,000 jobs from the peak.


"As can be seen, there is no recovery in that sector (construction). We can also see a net loss of 50,000 jobs from peak to present. Put another way, 50,000 of the 78,000 jobs lost in the state since the onset of the 2008-09 recession can be accounted for by construction losses. This suggests there will be no meaningful recovery in state employment until construction revives. The growth needed from other sectors to offset construction are just too large."

You can read Yandle's December 2011 Digest at Clemson.edu by clicking here.

National Flood Insurance Program extended until Dec. 16

Congress reauthorized the National Flood Insurance Program until December 16.  The extension was part of the same legislation that reauthorized the higher loan limits for FHA-backed mortgages.

NAHB is currently working with the National Association of Realtors and others to lobby Congress to reauthorize the flood insurance program for five years.

NLRB poster on collective bargaining must be posted by January 31

Beginning on Jan. 31, 2012, all employers with more than $500,000 in annual gross business volume -- including home builders and remodelers -- will be required to post an official notice advising employees of their collective bargaining rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The law applies to all companies that meet the gross business volume threshold, including those who have non-union shops or whose business is located in a right-to-work state. According to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the notice must be 11 inches by 17 inches and displayed in a conspicuous location where other workplace notices are regularly posted. Companies can download instructions and notification posters, available in more than 20 languages, free of charge from the NLRB website. A company that does not display the required poster as of Jan. 31, 2012 may be subject to an unfair labor practices complaint.

NAHB: FHA conforming loan limits restored for two years

In an important victory for NAHB, the housing industry, and consumers, Congress voted to reinstate for another two years the higher conforming loan limits for the Federal Housing Administration that expired on Sept. 30. President Obama signed the measure into law on Nov. 18.

NAHB has led the industry charge to restore the higher loan limits, which is essential to help mend the struggling housing market, stabilize home values, provide constancy while private investors re-enter the market and ensure that millions of creditworthy home borrowers can access the best possible mortgage rates.

In the days and weeks leading up to the vote, NAHB launched a major grassroots push, urging our members to call, email and meet with their lawmakers on this issue. Your HBA of Greenville supported these efforts by holding meetings with Congressman Trey Gowdy and Jeff Duncan.

Greenville, Pickens, and Laurens counties were particularly impacted by the reduction in the conforming loan limits.  In those counties the limits were reduced by nearly $25,000, while the limits remained the same in the rest of the Upstate.  With this victory, the original loan limits have been restored.

Meals On Wheels: a community service opportunity

Did you know that the HBA of Greenville has been a partner with Meals on Wheels since 1971? The HBA's relationship with Meals on Wheels was started by the HBA's Womens' Auxiliary, a group organized primarily by the wives of the Home Builders at that time. Since 1971 the HBA has supported Meals on Wheels with contributions and by sponsoring one and sometimes multiple routes.

Today the HBA continues to sponsor a route each Tuesday. Think you may want to help out? Our volunteers generally take the route about once every four to six weeks. It takes about two to three hours to pick up the meals at the Meals on Wheels office and distribute them to about 10 grateful recipients. If you are new to Meals on Wheels, you will need to participate in a short orientation session.

If you are willing to help the HBA with the Meals on Wheels route, please contact Michelle Kish at the HBA Office by calling 864-254-0133 or emailing mkish@hbaofgreenville.com.

President's Holiday Reception set for December 13

The annual President's Holiday Reception is just around the corner:
  • President's Holiday Reception
  • Tuesday, December 13
  • 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.
  • Home of Eric and Teresa Hedrick, 102 Cape Charles Drive, Greenville
  • No charge to participate compliments of our Presenting Partner, Piedmont Natural Gas, and Host Partner, Cornerstone Contractors
Parking is available at the HBA Office, 5 Creekside Park Court, Greenville,  A shuttle will run regularly from the HBA Office to the site of the party.

The President's Holiday Reception is the annual holiday party for HBA of Greenville members to gather, celebrate the spirit of the holidays, and wish joy and cheer to one another before taking a break to spend time with our families.

The President's Holiday Reception also will be an opportunity for HBA members to celebrate a successful year with President Wayne Moore.

President Wayne Moore, along with our Presenting Partner, Piedmont Natural Gas, and Host Partner, Cornerstone Contractors, invite HBA members to celebrate the season at the President's Holiday Reception.

To RSVP for the President's Holiday Reception, click here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Builder: "New Home Sales Suggest Climb Gaining Steam" in Greenville

A recent report by Builder magazine show that sales of new homes increased year-over-year in August, as well as for July.  The improvement suggests that "the market may be gaining momentum" in the Greenville-Mauldin-Easley MSA.

New home sales rose 41.6 percent in August, to 109, compared to 2011, and rose 32.3 percent in July, compared to the same month last year.  For the 12 months ending in August 2011, 949 new homes were sold, up from an annualized 917 in July.  However, out of all housing sales, new home sales made up just 14.5 percent of sales, although that is a rise from 11 percent in August 2010.


FHFA: Maximum Conforming Loan Limits to Remain Unchanged in 2012

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced last week that the maximum conforming loan limits for loans originated by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will remain unchanged in 2012.  The current conforming loan limit for all counties in South Carolina is $417,000 for a single-family home, and $533,850 for a two-family home.

You can read the entire release at fhfa.gov by clicking here.

You can see the conforming loan limits for the entire country at fhfa.gov by clicking here.

Higher loan limits that were established for certain high cost counties, that were enacted in 2008, expired in September of this year.  The loan higher loan limits for Federal Housing Authority (FHA) loans were recently restored by Congress.  Greenville, Pickens, and Laurens counties were impacted by the lowered FHA loan limits.  However, no South Carolina counties were impacted by the lowering of loan limits for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

FHFA: U.S. House Prices Rise 0.2 Percent in Third Quarter 2011

U.S. house prices rose in the third quarter of 2011 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 0.2 percent higher on a seasonally adjusted basis in the third quarter than in the second quarter. On an unadjusted basis, prices rose 0.7 percent during the quarter. Over the past year, seasonally adjusted home prices fell 3.7 percent from the third quarter of 2010 to the third quarter of 2011.

FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for September was up 0.9 percent from its August value. On a not-seasonally adjusted basis, prices were up 0.7 percent during the August to September period. Every census division but the East South Central division showed increases over the same period.

“In most regions of the country, third-quarter home values were relatively stable, even in some areas that experienced sharp price declines in preceding quarters,” said FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. “While most housing markets still face stiff headwinds, the fact that some beleaguered states—such as Idaho, Florida and Utah—saw quarterly price increases is a positive development.”

While the national, purchase-only house price index fell 3.7 percent from the third quarter of 2010 to the third quarter of 2011, prices of other goods and services rose 4.8 percent over the same period. Accordingly, the inflation-adjusted price of homes fell approximately 8.1 percent over the latest year.

FHFA’s all-transactions house price index, which includes data from mortgages used for both home purchases and refinancings, increased 0.9 percent in the latest quarter but is down 4.3 percent over the four-quarter period.

Significant Findings:
  • The seasonally adjusted purchase-only HPI declined in the third quarter in 21 states and the District of Columbia
  • Of the nine census divisions, the West North Central division experienced the strongest price gains in the latest quarter, posting a 1.5 percent price increase. Prices were weakest in the Pacific census division, where prices fell 0.5 percent.
  • 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 Phoenix-Mesa- Glendale, AZ area. That area saw price declines of 10.6 percent between the third quarters of 2010 and 2011. Prices held up best in the Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI metropolitan division, where prices rose 4.0 percent over that period.
Highlights

This quarter’s Highlights article has two sections. The first section compares recent price trends reported in the purchase-only HPI against price changes computed for the “expandeddata” HPI. The latter, which was described in detail in the 2011Q2 HPI release, is estimated using data from FHA-endorsed mortgages as well as licensed information from county recorder offices. Both indexes show a 0.2 percent price gain in the latest quarter.

The second section analyzes the impact of the recent boom in commodities prices on home values. States and counties with significant mining and oil extraction industries generally experienced more stable house prices than other areas.

Background

FHFA’s purchase-only and all-transactions HPI track average house price changes in repeat sales or refinancings on the same single-family properties. The purchase-only index is based on more than 6 million repeat sales transactions, while the all-transactions index includes more than 43 million repeat transactions. Both indexes are based on data obtained from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for mortgages originated over the past 36 years.

FHFA analyzes the combined mortgage records of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which form the nation’s largest database of conventional, conforming mortgage transactions. The conforming loan limit for mortgages purchased since the beginning of 2006 has been $417,000. Pursuant to the terms of various short-term congressional initiatives, loan limits for mortgages originated between July 1, 2007 and Sept. 30, 2011 were as high as $729,750 in certain high-cost areas in the contiguous United States. Mortgages originated after Sept. 30, 2011 are no longer subject to the terms of those initiatives and, under the formula established by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, the highest loan limit for one-unit properties in the contiguous U.S. has fallen to $625,500.

Monday, November 28, 2011

New addition to HBASC lobbying team

HBASC has added to its lobbying team that includes Capital Consultants, a lobbying and public affairs firm based in Columbia and headed up by Richard Davis.

Davis announced today that former WIS-TV news anchor David Stanton has joined Capital Consultants.  Stanton has moderated presidential debates for CNN and NBC and recently moderated the Republican Presidential debate with Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News.  "He is very well regarded in the General Assembly," Davis said.  Stanton will participate in all phases of lobbying and government affairs and will assist clients in media training in the off season, Davis said.

In addition to his history as a journalist, Stanton is an attorney and a graduate of Clemson University, University of Georgia, and University of South Carolina School of Law.

A home "Made in America" exclusively with American-made products?

Home Builders, have you heard about this idea?  What if you built your homes exclusively with American-made products.  One builder in Montana is doing so, and he said it adds just one percent to the cost of the house.  Many others are now giving it a try.

Interested?  Click this link to watch a report on ABC News.

Magazine ranks South Carolina high in several categories

South Carolina did extremely well on the latest 2011 Rankings Report from Business Facilities magazine, placing in the top ten in four categories. According to the magazine, South Carolina ranked:
  • 3rd for Economic Growth Potential
  • 5th for Best Business Climate
  • 2nd in Automotive Manufacturing Strength
  • 8th for both workforce training and low cost of labor
Source: Business Facilities, July/August 2011.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

HBA President's Holiday Reception set for December 13

The annual President's Holiday Reception is just around the corner:

  • President's Holiday Reception
  • Tuesday, December 13
  • 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.
  • Home of Eric and Teresa Hedrick, 102 Cape Charles Drive, Greenville
  • No charge to participate compliments of our Presenting Partner, Piedmont Natural Gas, and Host Partner, Cornerstone Contractors

Parking is available at the HBA Office, 5 Creekside Park Court, Greenville,  A shuttle will run regularly from the HBA Office to the site of the party.

The President's Holiday Reception is the annual holiday party for HBA of Greenville members to gather, celebrate the spirit of the holidays, and wish joy and cheer to one another before taking a break to spend time with our families.

The President's Holiday Reception also will be an opportunity for HBA members to celebrate a successful year with President Wayne Moore.

President Wayne Moore, along with our Presenting Partner, Piedmont Natural Gas, and Host Partner, Cornerstone Contractors, invite HBA members to celebrate the season at the President's Holiday Reception.

To RSVP for the President's Holiday Reception, click here.

Greenville County to host public meeting on new Flood Insurance Rate Maps

Greenville County announced a public meeting on the new Flood Insurance Rate Maps.  Representatives from Greenville County, S.C. Department of Natural Resources, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be on hand to answer questions.

  • December 14, 2011
  • 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.
  • Greenville County Square, Conference Room A, 301 University Ridge, Greenville SC

SC HELP Foreclosure Prevention Program Now Available Statewide

Responsible, but struggling, homeowners in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure in South Carolina can apply for mortgage payment assistance through a program administered through the S.C. State Housing Finance and Development Authority. The program, the South Carolina Homeownership and Employment Lending Program (SC HELP) is making more than $300 million available in South Carolina to struggling homeowners.

SC HELP is designed to help homeowners who are falling behind on mortgage payments due to circumstances beyond their control. These may include unemployment, catastrophic illness, death of a spouse, and/or divorce. The South Carolina program receives its funding from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. “SC HELP could continue until 2017,” said Lisa A. Bussey, Legislative Outreach Manager of the state housing authority.

Bussey urges homeowners who are or may be falling behind in mortgage payments to apply to SC HELP as soon as they begin to experience trouble. “Our goal is to make certain no potential beneficiary goes un-served. If you think you may qualify, please apply.”

Homeowners can apply online at www.SCMortgageHelp.com. SC HELP officials emphasize that using the online application is the fastest and most efficient way to begin the process. Homeowners without internet access may call toll-free to 855-HELP-4-SC (855-435-7472) to begin the process.

Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis, but for those who qualify, assistance may include:
  • Monthly Payment Assistance - assisting homeowners with monthly payments for a defined period of time while they seek employment and a return to self-sustainability.
  • Direct Loan Assistance - for borrowers who have experienced a hardship but have regained the ability to pay. Funds can be used to pay arrearages in order to bring the loan current.
  • Property Disposition Assistance - in cases where the mortgage cannot be salvaged, funds may be provided to help transition families from homeownership to rental housing in cases where a short-sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure occurs.
Homeowners applying for Monthly Payment Assistance or Direct Loan Assistance must meet certain threshold requirements in order to apply for help:
  1. Borrower or co-borrower must be able to document that the delinquency was a result of a hardship event beyond his/her control (i.e. unemployment, death of a spouse, catastrophic medical expenses, etc.)
  2. Mortgage payments must have been made on time for 12 months preceding the hardship event with no more than two 30-day late occurrences
  3. The property securing the mortgage must be owner-occupied as a full-time residence
  4. Borrower must provide a financial hardship affidavit
  5. Mortgage can be no more than 120 days delinquent
  6. Loan servicer/investor must be willing to accept payments and provide required data and reporting
Assistance from SC HELP will be provided in the form of a non-recourse zero-percent interest, non-amortizing, forgivable loan secured by a subordinate lien on the subject property. The loan will be forgiven over a five-year period at a rate of 20% per year. If property is sold or refinanced prior to the loan termination date, funds will be recovered should sufficient equity be available from the transaction. The Property Disposition Assistance Program will provide a one time, lump sum grant to the recipient.

FHFA reports lower mortgage interest rates


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 4.19 percent based on loans closed in October. This is a decrease of 0.19 percent from the previous month.

The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loans of $417,000 or less decreased 20 basis points to 4.36 percent in October. These rates are calculated from the FHFA’s Monthly Interest Rate Survey of purchase-money mortgages. These results reflect loans closed during the October 25-31 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-September.

The contract rate on the composite of all mortgage loans (fixed- and adjustable-rate) was 4.17 percent in October, down 19 basis points from 4.36 percent in September. The effective interest rate, which reflects the amortization of initial fees and charges, was 4.29 percent in October, down 20 basis points from 4.49 percent in September.

This report contains no data on adjustable-rate mortgages due to insufficient sample size. 

Initial fees and charges were 0.83 percent of the loan balance in October, down 0.11 percent from 0.94 in September. Twenty-eight percent of the purchase-money mortgage loans originated in October were "no-point" mortgages, down one percent from the share in September. The average term was 28.7 years in October, down 0.3 years from 29.0 years in September. The average loan-to-price ratio in October was 78.4 percent, up 0.1 percent from 78.3 percent in September. The average loan amount was $218,500 in October, down $2,200 from $220,700 in September.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

HBASC announces 2012 Housing Advocacy Agenda

Your Home Builders Association of South Carolina announced the Housing Advocacy Agenda for 2012 following its annual Legislative Conference in Columbia on November 9.
  1. Multi-lot Discount: Allow for a grace period for annual re-certification to reduce risk of losing property tax discount, and increase from 5 to 8 the years the discount is available due to the economic downturn. Bill up in Senate. 
  2. Reverse Anti-Economic Development Case: SC Supreme Court decision said any discharge into the environment must be permitted, and anyone can have standing in the case. Ominous decision for land development & construction – permit nightmare! Bill to be introduced. 
  3. IECC 2009 Adoption: The PURC Advisory Committee is scheduled to move forward with recommendations to the General Assembly to adopt the IEEC 2009 energy code. Bill to be introduced. 
  4. Immigration Reform: There is new political pressure in our state due to concerns over the Hispanic growing population in the US. We would anticipate that immigration reform legislation may have to be introduced if the Court rules against the recently passed state law - similar to the Arizona law. Bill challenged in court! 
  5. Impact Fees: HBA has to defend the state impact fee law every year every year, as some areas of the state continue to push for school impact fees, and more liberal interpretation of our state’s impact fee law. Recent court action helped! 
  6. Comprehensive Tax Reform: General Assembly will possibly pursue a comprehensive review of taxes in 2012 based on some of the TRAC Committee recommendations with additions, deletions, and changes to the SC tax code. Tax reform bill likely be introduced. 
  7. Private Transfer Fees: A bill was passed last session to ban the use of private transfer fees in SC. Bill will be up for passage in Senate in 2012. 
  8. Labor Unions Expand Their Influence: Business interests are concerned that labor unions will attempt to undermine our right-to-work state by state and federal legislation.
Watch for Calls to Action from your Home Builders Association in support of these housing-related public policy issues.

HBA members save $500 when they buy a GM vehicle

HBA members can save $500 when buying a vehicle from a GM dealer.

Click here to learn more about which vehicle qualify for the GM $500 discount.

To qualify, download a proof of membership form by clicking here.  Take the form to your GM dealer.  Negotiate your best deal, then present your membership form for an additional $500 off of your purchase.

Only vehicles purchased by the HBA member of record qualify for the discount.  The program can not be combined with another private offer.

HBA members save money when buying a Lowe's

Did you know HBA members who use their Lowe's Account Receivable account save five percent on their purchases?  Plus, visit LowesForPros.com/NAHB and save an additional two percent through December 7, 2011.

Click here to visit LowesForPros.com/NAHB for details on savings for HBA members.

NAHB appeals elements of Lead Paint Rule to U.S. Court of Appeals

Your National Association of Home Builders appealed the removal of the opt out provision of the Lead Paint Rule to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.  The hearing took place November 1.

A part of the argument was that the EPA exempted the largest part of home improvements from the Lead Paint Rule: the Do-It-Yourself "industry."  Following the hearing, NAHB reported that relief from the Lead Paint Rule "may have to wait for a new Administration."  Read why at Nations Building News by clicking here.

Did You Know: Household Income

Did You Know?

According to Demo Memo, a blog about demographic trends, household income for dual-income couples rose 5 percent between 2000 and 2010, adjusted for inflation, while income for all households fell 7 percent during the same period.

Big Box Homes?

BUILDER magazine featured super-size homes, and the builders who have profited from them, in an article on builderonline.com.  From the article:

"...the big-box home trend was born as a way to compete with resales because it is rare to find large homes among resales and foreclosures, making their plus-size a product differentiator. Also, the larger homes can often pass muster with appraisers more easily, because the bigger the house, the smaller the square-foot price, and the higher-priced portions of the home, kitchens and bathrooms, are amortized over a larger number of square feet. The lower price per square foot helps the homes compete with the lower per-square-foot cost of distressed home sales."

Read the entire article at builderonline.com by clicking here.

South Carolina ranked sixth in domestic migration in 2010

In a study by New Geography, South Carolina ranked sixth in net domestic migration in 2010, and has not ranked lower than seventh since 2001.

Read the report at newgeography.com by clicking here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

TD Bank will add 1,600 new jobs in South Carolina, 1,400 in Greenville

TD Bank announced today that it will add 1,600 new jobs in South Carolina over the next five years, 1,400 of those jobs will be at the Greenville headquarters on Millennium Parkway.  The other 200 positions will be added in Lexington.

TD also will spend $17.1 million to renovate the three buildings it owns on Millennium Parkway, fronting I-85.  The buildings were completed in 2008 but have stood largely empty since their completion.

If you bought real estate in 2011, you could be eligible for a property tax reduction

Did you buy property in 2011 that is assessed at the 6 percent assessment ratio?  You may be eligible for a property tax discount.

The General Assembly enacted the Point of Sale Bill (H.3713) that among other things provides for a 25 percent reduction in the fair market value of property bought in 2011 and assessed at the 6 percent assessment ratio (commercial, rental, second homes).

In order to receive the reduction, the property owner must apply to the local tax assessor's office by January 30, 2012.

Call To Action: Restore FHA Loan Limits

H.R. 2112 Restores FHA Mortgage Loan Limits
Write your members of Congress via Capitol Connect
Call your members of Congress at (866) 924-NAHB (6242)

On September 30, 2011, Congress allowed the conforming loan limits for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to shrink. The failure of Congress and the Obama Administration to act on the loan limits extension is the beginning of an effort to greatly reduce the federal government’s role in housing.

Over the last few weeks, Congress has been hard at work crafting language to restore conforming loan limits. H.R. 2112 is an appropriations bill that allows the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage loan limits to be restored to their previous levels. Congress will be voting on H.R. 2112 later this week. Restoring the loan limits will provide consumers in all markets access to safe, affordable mortgage financing.

In the Upstate, the FHA conforming loan limits were reduced in Greenville, Pickens, and Laurens counties, but not in the rest of the Upstate.

Housing markets remain fragile. Restoring the limits will provide stability, while private investors reenter the market.

Click here to see the impacts of the lower FHA loan limits by county

Talking Point:
  • Support H.R. 2112 to stabilize housing prices and the mortgage market. 
Ways to Act:
  • Write to your members of Congress via Capitol Connect;
  • Call your members of Congress at (866) 924-NAHB (6242). 
If you have any questions or feedback on this issue, please email BuilderLink@nahb.org.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

South Carolina second in states that would be negatively impacted by a European recession

South Carolina ranks second among states that would be negatively impacted by a recession in the European Union.  Why: auto manufacturing.  Specifically BMW.  What state is first?  Utah (gold and other minerals).

Read the entire report at WSJ.com.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bosch announcement means more jobs for Greenville County

Bosch Rexroth Corp. announced plans today to expand its existing hydraulics manufacturing operations in Greenville County. The $80 million investment should generate 160 new jobs over the next five years, according to the S.C. Department of Commerce and the Greenville Area Development Corporation (GADC). Click here to read the entire article in GSA Business.

Greenville homebuilders show appreciation for local Wounded Warrior


Each year, the Home Builders Association of Greenville holds an Associate Appreciation Night to thank companies and individuals that support the business of homebuilding. From bankers to brick masons, the Home Builders Association of Greenville is your source for finding builders, remodelers, specialty contractors, manufacturers, financial and insurance professionals, realtors, and many others who offer products and services for homeowners and first-time homebuyers.

This year’s Associate Appreciation Night was even more special as we were able to thank a local veteran for his service to our country with an exciting gift. As homebuilders, our passion is to provide people with the American Dream of homeownership. Without the service of those like Marine Sgt. Michael Batton of Mauldin, SC, attaining that dream could never happen.

In September of 2006, Michael was deployed to Ramadi, Iraq where he served as a headquarters platoon sergeant. During a mortar attack in December of that year, Michael sustained a traumatic brain injury, and was medivaced to Germany. Michael was granted permanent military retirement in April of 2011 and presently lives in Mauldin with his wife, Sarah, and their two children, Jenna and Tyler.

In conjunction with the Wounded Warrior Project, the Home Builders Association of Greenville is providing the Batton family with a kitchen remodel as our way of saying thank you for everything Michael and his family have sacrificed for our country. We are hopeful the kitchen makeover will give the Battons an inviting space to create many fond family memories.

Several members of the Home Builders Association of Greenville will team up for the Batton kitchen remodel to be completed by the New Year. Those HBA members are:

Dillard-Jones Renovations, LLC
Builders First Source
GBS Building Supply
Progress Lighting
Sherwin Williams
Oldcastle Surfaces
Greer Flooring Center
Gateway Supply Company
The Cook’s Station

The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) began when several veterans and friends - moved by stories of the first wounded service members returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq - took action to help others in need. What started as a program to provide comfort items to wounded service members has grown into a complete rehabilitative effort to assist warriors as they recover and transition back to civilian life. The program seeks to: raise awareness and enlist public aid for the needs of injured service members; help injured service members aid and assist each other; and provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.

The Home Builders Association of Greenville is excited to be a part of this worthwhile project and encourages you to take a look at how you might get involved this holiday season by visiting www.WoundedWarriorProject.org.

Advice to builders: Don't hold back when providing information to appraisers

Homebuilders should demand that lenders use qualified, designated appraisers who are experienced in their local area, and who understand new construction and green building values, according to a new NAHB document offering helpful advice on how homebuilders can obtain more accurate appraisals. Among other tips, the two-page document from NAHB advises builders to meet with the appraiser on the actual home site and to provide direct support for the price with whatever relevant information is available. Click here to read the article in Nation's Building News that includes tips for obtaining more accurate appraisals.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nov. 10: HBA of Greenville Annual Meeting will feature Rob Leinbach, CEO, Walton International

HBA of Greenville's Annual Meeting and Associate Appreciation Night will be held Thursday, November 10, at TD Convention Center.

The evening begins with a 5:30 p.m. reception, followed by dinner featuring Anderson native Rob Leinbach, CEO of Seatlle-based Walton International. Rob will speak on 'Trends in Real Estate Development'. 

HBA associate members may attend the meeting at no charge, compliments of builder members Addison Homes LLC, Advanced Renovations, Dillard-Jones Builders LLC, Hollison Custom Homes, Quinn Satterfield Inc., and Sadler Company. 

The meeting will include election of 2012 HBA of Greenville officers and directors and recognition of Spike members and volunteers. The meeting also features a special presentation to honor a wounded warrior on Veterans Day.  

Mayors in Simpsonville, Mauldin defeated

Mayor Dennis Waldrop of Simpsonville and Mayor Don Godbey of Mauldin were both defeated in yesterday's elections.  Both defeats were decisive.  Dennis Waldrop is a Past President of the association.

The Mayor Elect of Mauldin is Dennis Raines, Administrator of First Baptist Church of Mauldin.

Perry Eichor, who received 47 percent of the vote in yesterday's election, will face Tammy Bagwell in a run off election on November 22 for Mayor of Simpsonville.  Eichor is a retired law enforcement officer and U.S. Air Force captain.  Bagwell is a mortgage originator and former Simpsonville City Councilwoman.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Top 10 ways to use video to sell new homes

You’ve seen the stats -- online video can be a powerful way to capture consumer attention and keep online visitors engaged. In fact, according to comScore, last month over 85% of the US Internet audience viewed online video. Here are some ideas that you can use to make video work for your business.
  1. Build Trust: Video is a great way to put a face on your company and show potential new homebuyers all the reasons you would be the perfect partner to help make their dreams come true. Use video to showcase your experience and let your executives speak directly to consumers.
  2. Build Confidence: Today’s homebuyers need to know that buying a new home is possible. Video can help spread the message about available financing options, and also provide encouragement from outside sources.
  3. Differentiate: Chances are, your potential homebuyers are considering several builders in the area. What makes you different? Video is the perfect way to show all the reasons that your company stands out.
  4. Display Products: Video is a great way to help potential new home buyers visualize themselves in your homes, living in your communities, using amenities, etc...
  5. Path To Action: Give new homebuyers a visual, step-by-step look at what they can expect from the home buying process.
  6. Special initiative or Campaign: Video can help draw attention to a special campaign or incentive that you are promoting. As you are creating your marketing plans for these initiatives, be sure to consider how video can fit into the mix.
  7. Testimonials: There is nothing more powerful than hearing a testimonial from a satisfied customer. Put these stories front and center in your marketing materials with videos of your satisfied clients.
  8. Webisodes: Get creative with your video ideas. Create episodic web videos about your communities or go viral with comedy!
  9. TV Commercials and TV Shows: Sometimes you need to think big to make an impact. Today’s technology makes high-end video work for TV within your budget.
  10. Sales Materials: Don’t forget about incorporating video into your sales center loops, mailable DVD’s and eflyers. This is a way to cut through the clutter and help your message stand out.

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 16: Builder After Hours at GBS Building Supply


The final HBA of Greenville Builder After Hours of 2011 is at GBS Building Supply.
  • Builder After Hours
  • GBS Building Supply, 103 Old Mill Road, Mauldin, SC
  • Wednesday, November 16, 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
  • Sponsor: GBS Building Supply
The Builder After Hours is a strictly social gathering. No business is conducted. The host and sponsor will make a few brief remarks, as will the HBA of Greenville president.

Bob Barretto, CEO of GBS Building Supply, would like to invite all members of the HBA of Greenville to visit GBS' newly remodeled showroom.

Don't miss this great evening of networking and fellowship, and delicious food.

Click here to register for the Builder After Hours at GBS Building Supply.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Call to action: contact your member of Congress about lowered loan limits

The National Association of Home Builders issued a call to action today asking HBA members to contact their members of Congress and seek their support for extending the conforming loan limits for Federally-backed home mortgages.

If you and your customers want to continue to receive the types of mortgages you have become used to getting, the ones with the best interest rates, lower fees, a lower down payment requirement, and less stringent credit requirements, you need to tell your U.S. Representative to extend the conforming loan limits for home mortgages backed by the Federal government.

"Conforming Loans" are those mortgage loan amounts that qualify to be backed by the Federal government under programs run by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).  On September 30 Congress allowed the maximum limits for loans backed by the Federal government to expire, and the average loan limit fell by about 10 percent.

For the Upstate, the conforming loan limits did not change for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The limits did change, however, for FHA-backed mortgages.  The limit dropped 8 percent to $271,050 on a home with a maximum price of $280,881 in Greenville, Pickens, and Laurens counties.  According to NAHB, 2.24 percent of Greenville County's owner-occupied housing stock no longer qualifies for an FHA mortgage.  In Pickens County, 1.61 percent of owner-occupied homes no longer qualify, and in Laurens County 1.82 percent no longer qualify.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA guarantee most traditional mortgages in America today. What are the consequences of these changes?  The next time you, your family, or your customers seek a mortgage that are higher than these lowered limits, you will be required to seek what is called a Jumbo Mortgage. These mortgages come with higher rates, higher fees, higher down payment requirements, and stricter credit requirements.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NewGeography report finds that more Americans are moving to detached housing

Conventional wisdom, the national media, and planning professionals would have you believe that Americans are moving to attached housing (apartments and condominiums) in droves.  A report by NewGeography finds reality defies that conventional wisdom.

NewGeography analyzed the top 51 housing markets (over 1 million population) and compared Census data from 2000 and 2010.  The results of their findings include:

  • Single-Family Detached housing attracted 79.2 percent of new households
  • Multi-Family Attached housing attracted 11.8 percent of new households
  • Two-Unit Attached housing attracted 11.3 percent of new households
  • Other housing, like mobile homes and boats, declined by 2.3 percent
A total of 4 million new new single family homes were added in the 51 markets, while apartments and condominiums added 590,000 units and attached houses added 570,000 units.

Planners argue that condominiums tend to be more attractive in larger housing markets due to higher land costs.  However, planners and demographers do anticipate a slight shift in preference to attached housing in the coming decades as Generation Y enters the housing market.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

HBASC seeks to reverse S.C. Supreme Court decision that will kill economic development

Earlier this year the SC Supreme Court issue a ruling that sent shock waves through the development community.  The ruling, in the SC League of Women Voters vs. Smith Land Company, nullified case law practice for many years by:

1. Zero Tolerance: the court ruled that any discharge into the environment must be permitted – this case involved filing part of .19 acre on a .33 acre lot that was not required by state or federal law to have a permit.

2. Encourages Lawsuits: the court also ruled that anyone could have “standing” in a case, and they did not have to be directly impacted by the issue. In the past the individual filing the lawsuit had to be directly impacted to file the case. This now opens the door for a flood of litigation from every activist group in state.

If this ruling is allowed to stand, economic development in this state could come to a grinding halt as anti-economic development groups sue every business that wants to come to the state, and companies will locate in less litigious states.

The Home Builders Association of South Carolina will participate in legislation in 2012 intended to reverse this ruling.

If you are interested in the pro-housing agenda of your Home Builders Association, attend the Legislative Conference in Columbia on November 9.  Click here to register for the Home Builders Association Legislative Conference.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Government Affairs Forum: City of Greenville's Jessica Chapman, PE

This week Jessica Chapman, PE, CFM, Assistant City Engineer-Environmental for the City of Greenville, met members of the Home Builders Association to discuss how the association can better work with the City of Greenville to improve the city's permitting and land development regulatory process.

Chapman discussed a review currently underway by a private consulting firm of the city's permitting process.  She reported that the city is endeavoring to improve the process and make it more understandable for everyone involved.

Chapman and the association also discussed a more regional approach to stormwater detention that would be more efficient and environmentally sensitive.

Chapman also reported on the status of the City's flood mapping system.  She reported that FEMA is currently in the process of updating its maps in the city.  She demonstrated the city's GIS system and the component that allows property owners to easily see whether their property is in a mapped flood plain.

To view the city's GIS system and check the location of your property, click here.

Employers: State law requires all new hires to be verified through E-Verify beginning January 1, 2012

In June Governor Nikki Haley signed into law amendments to the South Carolina Illegal Immigration and Reform Act.  The key change to the law requires all employers, beginning January 1, 2012, to verify the employment status of all new employees by using E-Verify.

E-Verify is an online system run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Employers using E-Verify are required to check the status of a newly hired employee within three business days of the employee's hire date.

Failure to comply with this new law will result in probation, suspension, or revocation of the employer's South Carolina business license.  Under South Carolina law, all private employers are imputed with a South Carolina employment license, or business license, which permits a private employer to employ a person in the state.  There is no action required on the part of the employer to receive the business license, but failure to comply with the South Carolina illegal immigration law could result in revocation of the license and termination of the business' ability to employee people.

Employers using E-Verify must apply to use the system, agree to its terms, and take an online study course and pass an online test before beginning to use the system.  The application and testing process takes about two hours.

Click here to log on to E-Verify and begin the process of complying with the law.

Click here for more information about South Carolina's Illegal Immigration and Reform Act.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Oct. 27 HBA Government Affairs Forum Features Greenville City Engineer

Jessica Chapman, PE, Assistant City Engineer for the City of Greenville Environmental Services, will be the featured speaker at HBA of Greenville’s Oct. 27 Government Affairs Forum. The forum begins at 8:30 a.m. at the HBA of Greenville office. There is no cost to attend. Register online or call (864) 254-0133.

Fall NAHB Construction Forecast Webinar Coming Oct. 26

Get diverse data and interact directly with some of the nation’s top economists during the Fall NAHB Construction Forecast Webinar. Join NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe and other top economic forecasters as they examine:  Are any markets improving? Where?; Is acquisition, development and construction credit becoming more available?; and Are house prices back in line with incomes? There is no charge to attend the 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. webinar at the HBA of Greenville office, however seating is limited. Please click here to register for this event.

Call for Nominations for Association 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:

  • Brad Thompson, 2010
  • 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:
  • Scott Presley, 2010
  • 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.

Call to action: want your voice heard? join an HBA committee

Want your voice heard?  Want to help make your association better, smarter, more relevant?  Join an HBA of Greenville Committee.  Want to know more about our committees?  Click here to review our committee list and download job descriptions.  Want to volunteer?  Simply email Michael Dey at mdey@hbaofgreenville.com and state your committee preference.  Don't want to serve on a committee but still want to volunteer?  Send Michael an email with your areas of interest.  The board forms task forces on a regular basis that handles a specific task and then disbands.  Your association would love to have your help.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Exclusive Discount from Surplus Warehouse

Beginning Monday, October 24th thru Thursday, October 27th 20% off ALL purchases over $500.00.

We offer a wide selection of Flooring, Cabinets, Doors,
Plumbing, and so much more!

Come in Monday (the 24th) and see the many ways that you can BUILD MORE. SPEND LESS. at Surplus Warehouse.

(864) 297-6013
20 Haywood Road, Greenville, SC. 29607

U.S. Senate votes to reinstate federal loan limits

The U.S. Senate voted this week to reinstated the Federal loan limits for mortgage loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration.  The higher loan limits expired September 30 and the new limits are an average of about 10 percent lower.

From South Carolina, Senator Lindsay Graham voted in favor of restoring the loan limits.  Senator Jim DeMint voted against restoring the loan limits.  The proposal now heads to the U.S. House for its consideration.

Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Reno, Nev., issued the following statement regarding the Senate action to reinstate higher loan limits for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration that expired on Sept. 30:

"The National Association of Home Builders commends the Senate for approving an amendment offered by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) that is essential to help mend the struggling housing market, provide affordable mortgages for creditworthy home buyers and move the economy forward. The 60-to-38 vote demonstrates bipartisan support for pro-housing policies that will help our industry to create jobs and spur economic growth.

"Restoring the higher loan limits for the housing government sponsored enterprise and the FHA will provide home owners and home buyers with safe and affordable financing while providing a much-needed boost to housing markets all around the country.

"Congress must act soon to ensure that this measure is enacted into law. Otherwise, the current drop in mortgage loan limits will reduce housing demand, and place downward pressure on home prices in major markets. This will exacerbate the current housing downturn, trigger more foreclosures, impede job growth and endanger the fragile economic recovery."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

ENERGY STAR v3 implementation dates announced

ENERGY STAR v3 program for modular homes implementation dates have been announced by the U.S. Department of Energy:
  • ENERGY STAR modular homes ordered from a modular builder or homebuyer between October 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012, must comply with Version 2.5. The v2.5 guidelines can be found at ENERGY STAR'S website: www.energystar.gov. Homes with sales orders placed prior to October 1, 2011 can still comply with Version 2.
  • Modular homes with an order date on or after July 1, 2012 must comply with ENERGY STAR Version 3 guidelines.
  • The technical requirements of v3 are established by the U.S. EPA and can be found on the EPA website: www.energystar.gov.
The dates for implementation for manufactured homes have not been finalized.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Greenville makes Forbes list of top 10 downtowns in America

Forbes included downtown Greenville on its list of 10 cities with America's Best Downtowns.

As recently as fifteen years ago, there would be no chance of Greenville making anybody’s list of top downtown areas. Suffering from decades worth of neglect losing business to the suburbs, the city engaged in an aggressive renewal project that has been enormously successful in transforming the downtown into a thriving cluster of new homes, shops, restaurants, and arts offerings. “There are pedestrian areas where people are walking around and shopping, and it’s really different from the other cities in South Carolina,” says Clampet. The addition of a BMW plant 30 miles outside the city has had a big impact on the workers coming in, and has changed it, in Clampet’s terms, “from a backwater to a really functioning and beautiful place.”

Read the entire report in Forbes by clicking here.

S.C. housing shows signs of stabilizing, report says

The residential housing market in South Carolina is showing signs of stabilizing, according to the S.C. Realtors’ report for September. New listings in the state dropped 27.1% in September to 6,195 units, while pending sales slipped 10.7% to 3,319. The number of units on the market fell 15.4% to 52,611 units – “a positive supply side trend that should bring additional stability,” the report said.

In the Greater Greenville area, sales increased 14.2% to 571 units for September, compared with 500 for the same month in 2010. For the quarter, sales were up 22.8% to 1,927 units from 1,569 for the same period in 2010. The median home price for the Greenville market rose 2.7% to $144,500 for September compared with $140,750 for the same month in 2010. The average number of days on the market rose 10.9% to 112 in September from 101 for the same month in 2010.

Click here to read the entire article from GSA Business.