Saturday, July 30, 2011

NPR: A park helps Greenville weather the recession

National Public Radio this week broadcast a nearly five-minute feature on how Greenville's Falls Park in the heart of downtown helped the city weather the recent recession.

The story profiled Mayor Knox White and his leadership in spearheading the park. It also profiled the subsequent economic development and community pride that has resulted from $13 million spent on the downtown part beginning in 2004.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Putnam wins primary run off election for South Carolina House District 10 seat in special election

Joshua Putnam, a 22-year-old new college graduate, defeated business consultant and former banker Hamp Johnson in a close GOP run-off Tuesday to win the Republican nomination in state House District 10, according to unofficial election results. He won with 52 percent of the vote.

Putnam defeated businessman Hamp Johnson in the primary run off yesterday and will face Constitution Party candidate Dave Ballard in a special general election on August 30.

The winner will replace former Representative Dan Cooper, who resigned in June after more than 20 years of service, including 6 years as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.


Steven Mungo Awarded Champion of the American Dream Award

Steven Mungo, CEO of Mungo Homes, was recently honored by the Home Builders Association of South Carolina (HBASC) with the inaugural 2010 Champion of the American Dream Award.

The Champion of the American Dream is awarded to an individual in recognition of their leadership and efforts in keeping the American Dream of home ownership affordable. The importance of home ownership cannot be understated. A home is the most valuable asset many families will ever own, but additional regulatory costs keeps many families from owning a home. For every five hundred dollars added to a house, 1,809 South Carolina families are priced out from owning their own home.

According to HBASC President, Mike Lowman, "Steven has proven to be a stalwart champion of protecting the American Dream in South Carolina and he honors our industry with his tireless dedication to keeping housing affordable."

Steven has been a member of the HBASC and the HBA of Greater Columbia since 1986. He has been inducted into the South Carolina Housing Hall of Fame, awarded the Builder Executive of the Year by the HBAGC Sales & Marketing Council three times, and received the Gordon A. Harrison Award in 2007. In 2008, Mungo Homes was the first South Carolina-based builder to receive the National Housing Quality Award -- the new home building industry's highest honor for quality construction and customer service. Steven is a Certified Master Builder and was the 2010 President of the HBASC.

Steven is a graduate of Wofford College and a native of Columbia. He serves on many local Boards, including Lexington Medical Center, EdVenture Children's Museum, and the Medical University of South Carolina. He and his wife, Maria, have two children and are active members of St. Mary's Episcopal Church.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

FHFA: Mortgage interest rates fall in May

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 4.74 percent based on loans closed in May. This is a decrease of 0.06 percent from the previous month. Click here to view the historical Contract Rate Series at

The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loans of $417,000 or less decreased 7 basis points to 4.92 percent in May. 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 May 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-April.

The contract rate on the composite of all mortgage loans (fixed- and adjustable-rate) was 4.75 percent in May, down 5 basis points from 4.80 percent in April. The effective interest rate, which reflects the amortization of initial fees and charges, was 4.87 percent in May, down 6 basis points from 4.93 percent in April.

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

Initial fees and charges were 0.85 percent of the loan balance in May, down 0.03 percent from 0.88 in April. Twenty-eight percent of the purchase-money mortgage loans originated in May were "no-point" mortgages, matching the share in April. The average term was 27.9 years in May, up 0.1 years from 27.8 years in April. The average loan-toprice ratio in April was 76.4 percent, up 0.6 percent from 75.8 percent in April. The average loan amount was $222,900 in May, up $18,500 from $204,400 in April.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Builder Review for July 25: Read the latest news from the HBA of Greenville

Builder Review, the bi-weekly newsletter from the HBA of Greenville, published July 25. Click here to read the latest news from the HBA of Greenville.

NAHB: Members can save big at Lowe's

NAHB members can save 5 percent when they purchase through their Lowe’s Account Receivable.* And through December 7 members can save an additional 2 percent on their orders when they register at for their Lowe’s Accounts Receivable purchases.**

Lowe’s also is offering members free delivery on purchases of $500 or more through December 7.

For more information, visit, or call 877-435-2440.

* Exclusions apply, discount taken at time of purchase, see store for details.
**Exclusions apply, discount taken at time of statement.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

HBASC honors many at Annual Meeting in Myrtle Beach

Last week the HBA of South Carolina met for its annual meeting and convention in Myrtle Beach. Members participated in numerous education sessions. The highlight of the week was the Celebration of Excellence, where several were recognized for their contributions to the South Carolina housing industry.

Hall of Fame

Representative William E. “Bill” Sandifer and John Templeton were inducted into the South Carolina Housing Hall of Fame.

Representative Bill Sandifer is a strong champion of housing who has had a remarkable affect on the housing industry. He recognizes the impact which the housing industry has on the economy and has worked tirelessly to protect it. Rep. Sandifer’s efforts have been instrumental in keeping home prices affordable so that all South Carolinians will have a chance to realize the American Dream of home ownership!

John Templeton has had a long career in developing quality housing opportunities, which has added to the quality of life for a large number of S.C. families. His professional career led to his passion to advocate for property rights and affordable housing and his founding of the S.C. Landowners Association.. Mr. Templeton has been a leader in the effort to preserve and to even restore the right of South Carolinians and people around the country to control their own property. His efforts have been instrumental in shaping and making successful what is likely the most significant property rights movement in the nation.

Builder and Associate of the Year

Calvin Snow of CVS Builders, LLC, in Greer and Frank B. Norris of the Frank B. Norris & Company, Inc., in Columbia are the 2011 recipients of the Thomas N. Bagnal Builder Member of the Year and HBASC Associate Member of the Year awards, two of the most prestigious HBASC awards. Both awards are given to individuals who demonstrate the same qualities as the awards namesake, Thomas N. Bagnal. These qualities include; tireless service to their community, home builders association (HBA) and to the home building industry.

For more than 30 years, Greer’s Calvin Snow has been building and remodeling homes, and 17 of those years has been with CVS Builders, Inc. Snow is very active in the Greater Spartanburg HBA, currently serving as vice president and twice voted as Builder of the Year in 2008 and 2010. On the state level and in addition to District 4 Vice President, he serves on the Certified Master Builder Committee. Snow is a supporter and sponsor of his high school alma mater, Byrnes High School, serves on the Spartanburg Board of Tax Appeals and has worked on numerous Habitat for Humanity projects. He and his wife, Sharron, have 3 children, Robert, Julia, and Matthew, and two grandsons, Isaiah and Eli.

According to many of his peers, Snow is a highly regarded home builder and member of his community. Jennifer Bradey-Hoy, Executive Director of the HBA of Spartanburg, calls him, “An asset to the entire industry. There may be no better person who exemplifies the title 'Thomas N. Bagnal Builder Member of the Year' than Calvin Snow for his efforts as a builder, member of our association, community volunteer, friend and family man.”

Frank Norris has been an ardent supporter of the home building industry and a member of the HBA for more than 40 years. He has served as committee chairs on both the local and state associations and continues to give generously of his time and resources. Frank Norris has testified in Senate and House Committee hearings on behalf of the home building industry and the citizens of South Carolina. He has played vocal rolls in reducing the statute of repose from 13 to 8 years, fighting to oppose the mandate for sprinklers in houses; as well, he has met many times with lawmakers throughout the discussions of the Crossman case involving general liability for builders.

According to Earl McLeod, Executive Director of the HBA of Greater Columbia, “Frank Norris started his company more than 25 years ago with the tenet to provide the tools and service to make those in the building industry successful. A goal he continues to practice every day for the benefit of our community, industry and Association.” Frank continues to be an active supporter of the Columbia HBA; has given his time serving on the board for the local chapter of the National Association for Mental Illness; and also serves on the board for Sharing Precious Memories, a non-profit organization that provides trips for families of special needs children who otherwise could not afford to travel. Frank and his wife, Mackey, have two sons, Sadler and Charley.

The HBASC commends both men on their commitment to the home building industry and to their community.

Are There Too Many Homes in America?

There has been considerable commentary from the media and some economists that what is driving the continuation of the housing market downturn is an over-supply of homes. However, NAHB economists report that home builders have under built since 2008 in terms of production necessary to meet demand.

Karl Smith, an assistant profession of behavorial sciences at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, writes in the Atlantic that "America is closer to a housing shortage than a housing surplus."

"The prices of houses rose to extremely high levels during the 2000s. However, total home building did not. What was noticeable about that period was the fraction of homes that were site-built single family homes, rather than duplexes, apartment buildings or mobile homes. However, the total amount of homes built barely reached records. In absolute terms not many more homes were being built in 2005 than in the early 1980s when the population was smaller and immigration less of a force."