Friday, January 14, 2011

Powell joins J. Freeman and Associates

J.Freeman & Associates Inc., an independent insurance and financial advisory services company, recently contracted Andrea Powell as an account executive.

Powell has over 20 years experience in publishing, sales, marketing, promotions, branding, product development, strategic planning, negotiating and sales staff management.

Prior to working with J.Freeman & Associates, she founded Secrets of the South Media Inc. in Savannah, Ga., a full-service graphic design firm and publishing company that developed several award-winning magazines and marketing campaigns.

She also served as vice president of member relations for the Greenville Chamber of Commerce.

Hal Von Nesson, MIRM, honored by NAHB, NSMC

The National Association of Home Builders’ National Sales and Marketing Council (NSMC) has named Hal Von Nessen, MIRM, the 2010 recipient of the Bill Molster Award. The award was presented to Von Nessen, president of RESH Marketing, at The Nationals Awards gala, held during the International Builders’ Show this week.

The award is named for Bill Molster, who was responsible for the development of NAHB's Marketing Department and ultimately the National Sales and Marketing Council. Bill joined NAHB in 1955 as a special assistant to the executive director, and in that position was responsible for finding ways of increasing and expanding the services of the association. He was recognized by his peers with the establishment of the "Bill Molster Award" as a tribute to his extraordinary service to the NSMC. Since 1965, this award has been given annually to individuals who have made major contributions to furthering the goals of the NSMC and the Institute of Residential Marketing (IRM).

Von Nessen is a past president of the Institute of Residential Marketing and a 2010 Inductee in the SC Housing Hall of Fame. He also has been certified by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) as a Master in Residential Marketing (MIRM), Certified Marketing Professional (CMP), Certified New Home Sales Professional (CSP), and Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS). In addition, he is a principal instructor for the certification programs of NAHB.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Builder Review, January 13, Published

Builder Review, the Home Builders Association of Greenville semi-monthly newsletter, published January 13. If you have not read it yet, download it and read it now.

Click here to read Builder Review.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Help your HBA raise money when you buy groceries at BI-LO

HBA of Greenville participates in the BI-LO BoostersPlus program, which earns money for the association every time members shop at BI-LO and use their BONUSCARDs.

You can help by enrolling. Click here to learn more about the BI-LO BoosterPlus program and the HBA.

HBA of South Carolina launches new website featuring the Certified Master Builder program

Interested in information about the Certified Master Builder program? The HBA of South Carolina has launched a new website dedicated to this important designation program.

The site features information to help consumers choose a Certified Master Builder to build their dream home or to remodel their current home.

The CMB calendar will make finding education classes easier. All CMB-qualifying education classes will be posted on the calendar. Of course, CMBs can obtain continuing education through NAHB University of Housing classes and webinars and through AIA-accredited classes.

The site includes a photo gallery of all CMB Pinnacle Award entries with contact information; a list of CMBs; a page for each listed CMB; articles and tips to help homeowners and home buyers keep their homes in shape; and information for CMB candidates.

Check out the website today and link your site to If you have questions, please contact Brandie at 803-771-7408 or

S.C. Building Codes Council Adopts an Emergency Modification to the Building Codes

The S.C. Building Codes Council, in an emergency action, adopted a new regulation regarding the purging of gas piping. You can read the emergency modification by clicking here.

NAHB announces new date for annual Hill Visit

The Legislative Conference, NAHB's most important lobbying event of 2011, will take place on March 16 in Washington, D.C., the same week the NAHB Executive Board gathers for its March meeting.

Since Congress selected the week of May 16 as an in-district workweek, the NAHB had to adjust the scheduling date of Legislative Conference.

The Legislative Conference provides home builders and their associates with an outstanding opportunity to speak one-on-one with their elected representatives on Capitol Hill. Considering the numerous challenges that our industry currently faces, it is imperative that we have a strong turnout on March 16 to ensure that lawmakers hear our messages loud and clear.

Now is the time to help the NAHB help your business by showing up in force and making a powerful impression on those who are in a position to move our agenda forward. Make your plans to attend today.

What’s more, please spread the word to your fellow NAHB members that the Legislative Conference is on March 16, 2011 — significantly earlier than our traditional practice of pairing the event with our Spring Board meeting.

For details on registration, accommodations and a tentative schedule of events, please click here. Or e-mail Nick Gentile or call 800-368-5242, extension 8542

HBA Legislative Agenda to focus on taxes and fees paid by Home Builders

The HBA of South Carolina announced its legislative agenda for 2011. Click here to read the entire agenda.

Central to the agenda are four issues where your Home Builders Association has set out to directly save home builders money.

Multi-Lot Discount
The Multi-Lot Discount benefits builders and developers who hold at least 10 finished lots that have not yet been improved with a house. The program discounts the value of the lots to its pre-development value until a house is constructed on the lot.

When this program was implemented in the late 90s, the result of the legislative efforts of your Home Builders Association, the maximum time a lot could benefit from the discount was five years. At that time no one could imagine a housing downturn like we have recently experienced.

As a result, the HBA of South Carolina will lobby to extend to seven years the amount of time a builder or developer can qualify for the discount.

Impact Fees
Continue to defend this crucial statute, which your Home Builders Association lobbied for passage in the late 90s. This law insures that impact fees are proportionate to the impact that development has on government infrastructure and also insures that impact fees are not collected for a purpose for which development does not have an impact.

Each year government work to chip away at this important law. Efforts are underway in several jurisdictions, primarily along the coast, to water down this law. Your Home Builders Association will take steps to protect the law and strengthen where appropriate.

Multiple Business Licenses
Your Home Builders Association of Greenville, along with other HBAs around the state, have called on the HBA of South Carolina to address a trend in local government of taxing businesses multiple times on the same volume of business. The HBA of South Carolina will work to pass a simple, more predictable method of assessing and collecting business license fees in South Carolina.

Local Government Regulatory Reform
Local governments have increasingly raised fees and permit charges on the construction industry to increase funding generated. The increases can be found in tap fees, sewer connection charges, and road maintenance and expansion fees. Your Home Builders Association will work to curb this growth in fees and apply the same principals to government regulatory fees that were applied to development impact fees.

You can click here to read the entire Home Builders Legislative Agenda.

Bird Supper
A key way that you can participate in this legislative program is to attend the Bird Supper. This event is where Home Builders from around the state come together to talk to their legislators about this legislative agenda.

When: Wednesday, March 23
Where: Columbia, SC

House Appraisals Under Fire; Computerized Models Are Assailed as Inacurate

Home appraisals, which were blamed for being too generous during the housing boom, are now being criticized by some home owners for being too stingy, preventing them from refinancing or borrowing against their houses.

The criticism is being leveled at computerized real-estate appraisals, which depend on models that use prices from home sales and other data to determine the value of a house. Computerized appraisals calculate a home’s value by using an index derived from historical repeat-sales data, or sales records of homes with similar property characteristics, such as square footage and the number of bedrooms and baths.

In-person appraisals don’t incorporate as much transactional data as a computer model.

Yale economist Robert Shiller, who developed the first systems in the early 1990s, is among those who say that in some situations the models may be providing unrealistically low values, prompting lenders to reject loan applications or lend less money on particular properties. Some models weigh past sales of a particular property over time against a historical home-price index, and they are running into problems with properties that have been bought only once.

This is the situation in places such as Nevada and Southern California, where new subdivisions sprouted during the housing boom but many homes never sold or entered foreclosure before ever being sold in a non-distressed transaction.

Wall Street Journal (12/30/10); M.P. McQueen

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Americans Still Lack Confidence in U.S. Banking Industry

Most Americans continue to lack confidence in the stability of the U.S. banking system, but they also remain unworried that they will lose their money due to a bank failure.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 44% of Adults are at least somewhat confident in the stability of the U.S. banking industry, including 11% who are Very Confident. However, 52% say they are not confident in the industry's stability, with 15% who are Not At All Confident.

Read the entire report a Rasmussen Reports by clicking here.

Remodelers Decry Cut in Tax Credit for Energy Savings

Provisions in the $858 billion federal tax bill signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 17 could be bad news for home owners interested in remodeling projects to conserve energy.

The law slashed the popular tax credits for energy-efficient remodeling from the current 30% of an improvement’s cost ($1,500 maximum per taxpayer) to a 10% credit, with a $500 maximum for expenditures on insulation materials, exterior windows and storm doors, skylights and metal and asphalt roofs that resist heat gain. The law also clamped new dollar-specific limits on key improvements that had been eligible for 30% credits. These include a $150 tax credit limit on the costs of energy-efficient natural gas, propane and oil furnaces and hot water boilers, plus a $300 credit limit on the costs of central air-conditioning systems, electric heat pump water heaters, biomass stoves for heating or water heating, electrical heat pumps, and natural gas and propane water heaters.

The new law also limits allowable tax credits for energy-efficient windows installed during 2011 to a total of $200, compared with the previous $1,500. On top of that, it prohibits taxpayers who have taken total tax credits in past years exceeding $500 from claiming any additional credits on energy-conservation projects they undertake in the coming year.

Donna Shirey, chairman of NAHB Remodelers Council and president of a contracting firm in the Seattle area, said the gutting of energy-efficiency credits “is a big step backward. It’s bad for the environment, bad for consumers and, of course, bad for jobs in our economy. We’re heading the wrong way here, sending absolutely the wrong message.”

Washington Post (12/30/10); Kenneth R. Harney

Banks Open Loan Spigot; Uptick in Lending to Businesses Is Expected to Accelerate

Moody’s Analytics estimates that commercial and industrial lending in the fourth quarter grew 0.2% from the third quarter, to $1.22 trillion, the first quarterly increase in two years. Moody’s predicts such lending will rise 3% in 2011.

Until recently, a chronic lack of lending to businesses was seen by economists as one of the obstacles to healthy recovery. Commercial and industrial lending “is the last thing that turns in a business cycle,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.

Coming off the dramatic lending drop after the financial crisis struck, recent increases in commercial lending reported by banks are modest. The amount of business loans outstanding remains well below historical levels. In addition, new activity varies significantly from bank to bank and industry to industry. Still, the uptick is notable, say banking analysts.

Wall Street Journal (12/30/10); Ruth Simon

EPA stormwater rules making 2011 difficult for home builders, developers

A flurry of recently issued storm water and regulatory requirements that give new muscle to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — with more regulations on the way — are likely to make 2011 a difficult year for home builders and developers as they struggle to rebound from the deepest housing recession in more than 70 years, according to a report by NAHB.

The EPA is also expected to re-propose a revised numeric limit to its Construction and Development Effluent Limitation Guidelines Rule (ELGs) early this year.

Read the entire article at Nations Building News by clicking here.

Mortgage Interest Deduction Primarily Benefits Middle Class

According to a study just completed by NAHB, the benefits of the mortgage interest and real estate tax deductions are collected primarily by the middle class.

The deductions for mortgage interest and real estate taxes are important and long-established tax provisions that benefit homeowners and stakeholders in the housing sector. As a result of recent proposal to increase taxes to address the long-term federal budget structural deficit, these deductions have been called into question.

The data and estimates in the study demonstrate that the benefits of these deductions are collected primarily by middle-class taxpayers, with incomes between $50,000 and $200,000. Moreover, greater benefits are earned by larger households and families, such as those with children. The data also show that as a share of household income, larger benefits are collected by families with less than $200,000 income, meaning that these tax rules make the tax system more progressive.

Read the entire report at by clicking here.