Friday, April 8, 2011

Multi-lot Discount May 1 Deadline Approaching

Residential developers and Home Builders who own 10 or more undeveloped lots, who have not signed up for the multi-lot discount, or who have not re-certified their lots for the new year, need to act quickly to be eligible for property tax abatement in the 2011 tax year. Failure to apply or re-apply by May 1 will preclude your participation in the 2011 tax year and result in a significant increase in your property tax bill for the year. To apply or re-apply, contact the Greenville County Tax Assessor's Office.

NAHB Study Sheds Light on Post-Downturn Property Tax Rates

A newly published study from NAHB Economics, titled "Property Tax Rates After the Housing Downturn," provides updated estimates of property taxes and tax rates for U.S. states and metropolitan areas based on data from the government's 2009 American Community Survey (ACS). While the median annual real estate tax payment in the U.S. is $1,917 per home, the study calls attention to the significant variation in tax payments across states.

For example, homeowners in southern states — excepting Texas — and the Mountain Census Division tend to pay lower taxes per home, while homeowners in the Northeast and Pacific states — excepting Hawaii — are likely to pay property taxes exceeding the U.S. median. States with the highest property tax rates include New Jersey, New Hampshire and Texas, where rates exceed $18 per $1,000 of home value. Meanwhile, Louisiana has by far the lowest effective real estate tax rates in the nation, at just $1.79 per $1,000 of property value.

South Carolina ranked 45th in the nation with an effective real estate tax rate of $5.07 per $1,000 of property value. The Greenville area's effective tax rate was $5.40.

Importantly, findings of the report suggest that tax assessments did not keep pace with home price changes during both the recent housing boom and bust years. In other words, homeowners in states with rapidly declining house prices faced property tax bills based on the dated higher-value tax assessments, so they effectively paid higher property tax rates during that time. Meanwhile, homeowners in states with housing appreciation paid property tax bills based on the lagging behind, lower-value assessments, thus registering declining effective tax rates.

The report also concludes that the larger the home price decline in a given market, the greater the tax rate increase has been.

Read the Report at by clicking here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Builder After Hours Sponsored by Fountain Inn Natural Gas and Economic Developer is on April 25th.

The second HBA of Greenville Builder After Hours social of 2011 is at the Farmer’s Market in Fountain Inn, sponsored by Fountain Inn Natural Gas.

· Builder After Hours
· Fountain Inn Farmer’s Market, 110 Depot Street, Fountain Inn
· Monday, April 25th, 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.
· Sponsor: Fountain Inn Natural Gas and Economic Developer.

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 HBA of Greenville President , Wayne Moore.

Dinner will be an old-fashioned southern cookout and shrimp boil with all the trimmings.

Van Broad, head of economic development at Fountain Inn Natural Gas, has announced several door prizes including a portable grill by Holland Grill and a patio heater. You must be present to win. Games include a putting contest, corn-hole, and basketball contest. A free set of gas logs will be given to builders who build and develop in Fountain Inn.

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

Click here to register for Builder After Hours sponsored by Fountain Inn Natural Gas.

Senator O'Dell Honored with Home Builders' Highest Award

South Carolina Senator William H. “Billy” O’Dell, Republican representing Anderson and Abbeville counties, was honored with the Hammer and Trowel award at the 41st Annual Bird Supper in Columbia. Senator O’Dell received the Home Builders Association of South Carolina’s highest award for a public official for his commitment to economic development and support of the state’s home building industry and affordable housing.

“Senator O’Dell has pioneered many pro-business bills and co-sponsored several bills of importance to our industry,” said Mike Lowman, president of the Home Builders Association of South Carolina. “His efforts to protect small businesses and the American dream of home ownership have influenced other legislative initiatives that promote positive change.”

Over the past 22 years, O’Dell has stood up for affordable housing and the success of small business. “Senator O’Dell recognizes that home building is one of the powerful industries that feeds the economy,” said Nick Nicholson, executive officer of the Lakelands Home Builders Association. “Because of this and the fact that the majority of home builders are small businesses, he supports and pushes legislative issues that are important to home builders in an effort to protect all South Carolinians.”

Some of his legislative accomplishments on behalf of home builders include the passage of Tort Reform, Workers’ Compensation Reform, Multiple Lot Discount Bill, and the Fire Sprinkler Mandate Bill.

The Hammer & Trowel Award is given annually to a public official (elected or appointed) or to any government employee who has had the greatest positive impact on the State’s housing industry during the previous twelve months. Selection is determined by an endorsement from a local Home Builders Association and secret ballot from the HBASC executive committee.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Alert: Check for a Valid Stormwater Permit When Buying Building Lots

Your HBA of Greenville has become aware of a new enforcement procedure by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) in the stormwater management program. It has resulted in a leter that many of you have received from Greenville County Engineer Judy Wortkoetter, P.E. Click here to read the letter from Wortkoetter.

You are probably well aware that the responsible companies for many residential subdivisions in the Greenville area are now bankrupt or have otherwise given up or lost control of their developments. In most cases these developments are under the control of a bank or other lender. In almost all cases the lender is declining to secure a new stormwater permit for the development.

As a result, because the responsible person who originally received the stormwater permit for the development is no longer in control of the development, SCDHEC considers the stormwater permit and NOI coverage for the development to be invalid. As a result, any undeveloped lots in the subdivision are not covered by a valid stormwater permit or NOI. This is an issue for anyone who has an ownership interest in a lot in one of these subdivisions.

Because these developments are considered “a larger common plan,” according to SCDHEC’s enforcement procedure, any development or building activity within this larger common plan must be covered by a stormwater permit and obtain NOI coverage. A building permit is not sufficient. As a result, Greenville County, under orders from SCDHEC, is requiring a fully-engineered stormwater permit application for any construction activities in these subdivisions. Even construction of a single house requires a certification from a professional engineer that it complies with the approved SWPPP in order to obtain NOI coverage. The construction of the single house on a single lot is considered by SCDHEC to be part of the “larger common plan of development”. In some cases SCDHEC is requiring builders, when buying multiple lots in one of these subdivisions, to obtain their own approved SWPPP and NOI coverage, even when the builder does not control the entire subdivision.

The only exception is for developments where the remaining undeveloped lots represent 10 percent of the overall development, or 10 acres, and the stormwater permit has been properly closed out. Greenville County government has been assisting in closing out the permits on any developments that fit those criteria. Greenville County is also closing out permits that meet it’s new stormwater ordinance requirement that developer’s can close out their permit if the subdivision reaches 50% build out if the stormwater management facilities are functioning and certified by the design engineer. However, NOI coverage for the individual lots built in these subdivision is required by SCDHEC.

Greenville County government also has been working closely with the Home Builders Association of Greenville and area developers and their engineers to try to resolve these problems. However, SCDHEC has been firm and inflexible with their enforcement of their stormwater program with these abandoned subdivisions.

The Board of Directors of the Home Builders Association of Greenville has asked us to make our Builder members aware of this situation and to advise you to do the following when purchasing lots in subdivisions:
  • Verify that the subdivision is covered by a valid stormwater permit and developer provided NOI coverage, particularly if you are buying a lot or lots from a bank
  • If the subdivision is not covered by a stormwater permit, verify that the stormwater permit was properly closed out so that your building permit will be valid for your individual land disturbance activities and obtain NOI coverage from SCDHEC.
If you buy a lot or lots in a subdivision that is not covered by a valid stormwater permit, and it is required to have a stormwater permit, be aware that you may be required to secure an engineered stormwater permit for the lot or lots and could be required to take responsibility for stormwater management for the entire development.

If you have any questions about this issue, please call the HBA office.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

U.S. Senate Votes to Repeal New 1099 Requirement

The U.S. Senate passed HR 4, the bill to fully repeal the expanded 1099 reporting contained in last year's health care law.

While the repeal is not finished until the President signs this bill into law, the effort could not have gotten this far without the involvement of Home Builders around the country. In addition to Home Builders, hundreds of associations around the country, all representing small businesses just like Home Builders, weighed in to tell Congress with one voice that repealing the new 1099 requirement was a top priority and one of the most important issues all small businesses will face in the coming year.

If allowed to stand, the new 1099 requirement will take effect on January 1 and require all businesses to obtain W9 forms, and issue 1099 forms, to every person and business with whom they do business, regardless of the amount transacted. Experts estimate that the average business will need one full-time employee just to comply with the requirement.

HR 4 now heads to the President's desk for his consideration.

Lowe’s 2 Percent Discount Benefit for NAHB Members

NAHB members can earn a 2 percent discount on purchases made through their Lowe’s Account Receivable (LAR) now through 12/7/2011. To take advantage of this new savings opportunity, visit and confirm your membership.

Discounts will appear on the customer’s LAR billing statement. Registered NAHB members are also eligible for free delivery on purchases of $500 or more. Visit for full details!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Proposed 20 Percent Minimum Down Rule Would Severely Disrupt the Housing Market

A plan unveiled by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Federal Reserve on March 29 to require a minimum 20 percent down payment for "qualified residential mortgages" would disrupt the fragile housing market and jeopardize the struggling economic recovery, according to NAHB.

According to FDIC chairman Sheila Bair, the 20 percent down payment requirement applies only to "that segment that is exempt from risk retention." In other words, mortgage loans for which lenders do not retain at least 5 percent of the loan will require a 20 percent down payment.

Click here to read the complete article in Nation's Building News.

Click here to read the proposal by FDIC and the Federal Reserve.

That Washington Post wrote in support of the proposal on its Opinion Page on March 31.

Click here to read the Post's editorial.

Let the eat cake: click here to read a rebuttal to the Post's editorial.