Thursday, August 4, 2011

Partner with your HBA and market your business

Every year your HBA of Greenville produces numerous programs and events that benefit the home building industry. You have the opportunity to partner with your HBA to produce these events and market your business to the home building industry. Partners help make these programs possible, and benefit from considerable promotion and advertising for their business.

The 2012 Partnership Program will be presented at a Partner Recognition Luncheon on August 11. The 2010 Partners will be recognized during this event. This is a complimentary luncheon. Plan to attend and learn more about the HBA of Greenville Partnership Program.
  • What: Partnership Recognition Luncheon
  • When: Thursday, August 11, 11:30 a.m.
  • Where: Hubbell Lighting Headquarters

Mother-in-law suites a growing trend in home building

According to the National Association of Home Builders, 62 percent of home builders surveyed worked on a home modification related to aging in 2010, and 20 percent of builders added a bedroom on the main level of a home.

About 3.5 million households included parents living with their adult children in 2010. AARP expects that number to continue to rise.

Three colleges in the Upstate make list of top schools

Three colleges and universities in the Upstate were selected by The Princeton Review as top schools for an undergraduate education. Clemson University, Furman University, and Wofford College made the list of 376 best colleges for 2012. Also making the list in South Carolina were The College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina. About one in eight undergraduate colleges and university make the list each year.

Source: GSA Business

Make plans to attend the 21st Century Building Expo & Conference

Registration for the Southeast’s premier home building tradeshow, the 21st Century Building Expo & Conference, is officially open. We invite builders, remodelers, subcontractors, realtors and other industry professionals to attend the 21CBEC in Charlotte, NC, September 14-16.

The 21CBEC is your chance to see a large array of the products and services available from the industry’s leading manufacturers and suppliers. In addition, a three-day educational conference includes a line-up of more than 50 general session seminars, North Carolina Builder Institute courses and NAHB Education classes.

There are three types of registration:
  • Expo floor only—$10. Visit the exhibit hall filled with more than 200 exhibits showcasing products and services for the home building industry. The Expo floor will be open September 15 and 16. Fee increases to $25 after Sept. 13.
  • Full Delegate—$85. Register as a full delegate and attend an unlimited number of our carefully selected general session seminars. Learn about trends in home building, how to keep your business successful, new marketing techniques, and much more during these insightful seminars taught by nationally-recognized speakers. The $85 fee also includes conference lunches on Thursday and Friday and Expo floor access. Fee increases to $100 after Sept. 13.
  • NCBI/NAHB Course—Fee varies depending on course. If you are working on an NAHB or NCBI designation, the 21CBEC offers three days of courses to help get you well on your way. The Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) course also will be offered. Course fee includes course materials, unlimited general session seminars, conference lunches on Thursday and Friday, and the Expo floor.
Online registration is easy. Go to and click on Attendees.

SPECIAL PROMO CODE ALERT! Enter promo code L3400 and receive $10 off your registration fees! This will make the Expo Floor FREE or take $10 off your conference registration fees.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Buildtopia's Erik Cofield offers advice for home builders who want to succeed

Erik Cofield, head of North American sales at Buildtopia, stopped by the Austin Texas offices of Software Advice to share his insight on the home building industry. He highlighted a few things on his visit including the fact that while the market may not be as good as it was a few years ago, there are a number of steps your business can take right now to ensure its success.

To start with, being in the right place is important to any business. Cofield lists South Carolina as one of several states that are faring well. However, Cofield says, "its not just about locations, it's about how they run their business."

In his interview, Cofield lists three reasons why home builders are succeeding:
  • They must have a strong foundation. In other words, they must have funding in place, be well positioned on land, and have a good product to sell;
  • They must have a sales machine, and;
  • They must leverage technology.

NAHB: Federal proposal could raise refinance costs for nearly 25 million homeowners

In top six most affected states, at least six in ten homeowners would face higher costs to refinance.

Nearly 25 million homeowners across the country would face more expensive mortgages if a proposal by federal regulators goes unchanged. A proposal released by six federal agencies to implement credit risk retention provisions included in the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act would require homeowners to have at least 25 percent equity in their homes in order to qualify for a lower-rate "Qualified Residential Mortgage" (QRM) for refinancing.

An analysis of the CoreLogic data shows 24.8 million U.S. homeowners – more than half of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage - have less than 25 percent equity in their homes.Homeowners looking to refinance but fail to qualify for a QRM will be subject to additional costs associated with lenders' risk retention requirements included in the Dodd-Frank bill. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, consumers in a non-QRM loan could pay between 0.80 and 1.85 percentage points more in interest rate, simply because they could not meet the down payment or equity requirements.

"In short, the proposed rule moves creditworthy, responsible homeowners into the higher cost non-QRM market," stated an executive summary of the analysis by the Coalition for Sensible Housing Policy, a group of more than 40 consumer organizations, civil rights groups, lenders, real estate professionals and insurers, in a recent White Paper on the proposed QRM rule.

The proposed QRM definition is part of the risk retention regulations required by the Dodd-Frank Act, which Congress enacted last year. The risk retention provisions require the issuers of mortgage-backed securities to retain a portion of the risk of potential loss on those assets. Recognizing that risk retention would impose increased costs even on creditworthy borrowers, Congress sought to incentivize more responsible borrowing and lending by exempting some mortgages – QRMs – from risk retention requirements if they met thorough underwriting standards.

The proposed QRM rule ignores compelling data that demonstrate sound underwriting and product features, like documentation of income and type of mortgage, have a larger impact on reducing default rates than high down payment and equity requirements.

The Coalition for Sensible Housing Policy believes that QRM should be redesigned to encourage sound lending behaviors that reduce future defaults without harming responsible borrowers and lenders. For more information, visit

NAHB: Remodeling Activity Slows Under Economic Uncertainty

he remodeling market slipped under pressure from a sluggish economy according to the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index (RMI), which dipped during the second quarter to 43.9 from the first quarter result of 46.5. An RMI below 50 indicates that more remodelers report market activity is lower compared to the prior quarter than report it is higher.

The overall RMI combines ratings of current remodeling activity with indicators of future activity, like calls for bids. Current market conditions for the second quarter of 2011 fell to 44.8 from 46.1 in the first quarter. Future market indications dropped to 43.0 from 46.8 in the previous quarter.

"Remodelers have experienced the same hiccup that has rippled through the U.S. economy," said NAHB Remodelers Chairman Bob Peterson, CGR, CAPS, CGP, a remodeler from Ft. Collins, Colo. "After picking up the pace early in the year, the calls from customers dropped off and remodeling slowed down."

Regionally, current market conditions shrank in two areas: the Midwest to 44.4 (from 47.1 in the first quarter) and the South to 42.9 (from 46.1). The West at 48.2 (from 46.1) and Northeast at 48.1 (from 46.1) both climbed modestly.

Two indicators of current market conditions dropped: major additions to 46.2 (from 50.3 in the first quarter) and maintenance and repair to 38.4 (from 39.5). A third indicator, minor additions, remained essentially flat at 48.5 (from 48.0). Future market indicators also descended: calls for bids to 49.8 (from 53.1), backlog of remodeling jobs to 45.7 (from 49.7), and appointments for proposals to 44.2 (from 52.4). The amount of work committed for the next three months stayed level at 32.3 (from 32.1).

"While the RMI indicates that the home remodeling market softened somewhat in the second quarter, this is still the second highest RMI we've been able to report since the third quarter of 2007," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "There are several barriers blocking the way to a stronger recovery. Home owners who may want to remodel still face stringent lending requirements, and uncertainty about the economy is making them hesitant to undertake major improvements."

Moody's Zandi lists three reasons to be optimistic

In a report in Big Builder, Moody's economist Mark Zandi lists three reasons for optimism about the economy, and housing:
  1. Job growth: Zandi reports that many corporate balance sheets have reached a point where "it's not a question of can companies hire more people, it's a question of willingness and confidence vis-a-vis health care, Dodd-Frank financial reform issues, and taxation." Zandi forecasts a return to a normal rate of unemployment by 2014 or 2015.
  2. Housing Finance: Zandi reports that the financial system is correcting the wrongs of the 2000s and he sees improvements in the banking system and predicts improved availability of credit to begin to improve for consumers and businesses.
  3. Demographics: Zandi reports that economic activity has been suppressed and well below the underlying growth in population and other demographic patterns. Zandi suggests that he is seeing pent-up demand gradually work its way into the marketplace and expects that to result in an improvement in housing.

Homeownership rate falls to lowest level in 13 years

The U.S. homeownership rate fell to 65.9 percent in the second quarter of 2011. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this is the lowest level since 1998.

According to the American Bankers Association, a 1 percent drop in homeownership equates to 1.1 million fewer homeowners.

Non-government businesses drive South Carolina's economy--the Upstate leads the way

More than 50,000 companies operate in the region's largest markets, representing a combined annual income of nearly $7.8 million. The highest-paid workers are found in the Upstate of South Carolina, with an average wage of more than $57,000 — 41% higher than the national average.

SCBT acquires BankMeridian

HBA member South Carolina Bank and Trust acquired BankMeridian on Friday from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation after the Federal government closed Meridian. The transaction resulted in the addition of another branch in the Upstate for SCBT. The new branch is in Spartanburg.

Residential Remodeling Index rises to highest level

The BuildFax Residential Remodeling Index was 124.3, up 22 percent from 109.7 in April and the highest level in the history of the index.

Housing is the key to our nation's economic recovery

Home building's economic multiplier effect, according to NAHB's chief economist David Crowe:

"Building 1,000 single-family homes creates 3,000 jobs, half in construction and half in support industries such as appliances, carpets, building materials, banking, etc. Single-family construction has dipped below 500,000 but underlying demographic demand requires 1.5 million single-family homes a year. The one million homes in lost production means a loss of three million jobs.

In addition to the lost economic activity from building homes, families moving into new homes would normally spend more than non-moving families on furnishings, decorations, landscaping, and other improvements. At roughly $5,000 per new home, an additional $5 billion in economic activity has been lost each year because of the new building slowdown."

Is there any question that housing is the key to our economic recovery?