Thursday, December 27, 2012

New-Home Sales Rise in November

Sales of new single-family homes increased 4.4 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 377,000 units, according to figures released today by HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. It was the highest monthly total since April 2010 when the federal home buyer tax credit expired.

“New-home sales are gradually picking up momentum as the economy improves,” said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “Prospective home buyers who have been sitting on the fence for years are moving back into the market due to continuing low mortgage interest rates, attractive pricing and the improving economy,” he said.

“This increase is consistent with NAHB’s member surveys, which show increasing confidence in the market,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “We’re projecting a total of about 365,000 new-home sales in 2012, an increase of almost 20 percent over the previous year. The year ahead will see a similar gain as more people who have been sitting on the sidelines decide that it is time to purchase a new home.”

Crowe cautioned, however, that failure to address the “fiscal cliff” could set the housing market back. “Continued uncertainty about the fiscal cliff has the potential to affect new home sales and other aspects of the housing market,” he said. “Some people will definitely hold off on making major financial decisions until the situation is resolved.”

Regionally, new-home sales numbers were mixed in November. Rebounding from declines the previous month, both the South and the Northeast showed improvement, with respective increases of 21.1 percent and 12.5 percent. New-home sales in the Midwest dropped by 12.5 percent, and the West posted a decline of 17.8 percent.

The inventory of new homes for sale increased slightly to 149,000 units in November, which is a 4.7-month supply at the current sales pace.

Housing Remains on Growth Track for 2013; Find Out More at the Annual Upstate Housing Market Forecast

Upward trends in recent months among a number of housing indicators point to a slow and steady growth in the nation’s housing market in 2013, but several challenges remain, according to the latest economic and housing forecast by David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

“Consistent, positive reports on housing starts, permits, prices, new-home sales and builder confidence in recent months provide further confirmation that a gradual but steady housing recovery is underway across much of the nation,” said Crowe. “However, stubbornly tight lending standards for home buyers and builders, inaccurate appraisals and proposals by policymakers to tamper with the mortgage interest deduction could dampen future housing demand.”

Upstate Housing Market Forecast is the Place to get the Latest Information about the Local Housing Economy
NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe and Dale Aiken of the Market Edge are featured speakers at the Upstate Housing Market Forecast on January 30.  Make plans now to attend and plan your business strategy using the latest economic data for 2013.  Click here to register. 

Stating there is no consistent national trend, Crowe noted the housing recovery is local but spreading.

“We are transitioning from a very low demand level, where most people hold themselves out of the marketplace, to a case where supply will start being the problem,” he said. “As we begin to build more homes to address that supply, the new home stock will be a much more important element of the recovery.”


Setting the 2000-2002 period as a baseline benchmark for normal housing activity, Crowe said that owner-occupied remodeling has returned to previously normal levels.

“Multifamily production is also well on its way, back to 69 percent of normal,” he said. “It’s the single-family market that has the farthest to go, standing at only 40 percent of what is considered a typical market.”

Meanwhile, the number of improving housing markets across the nation continues to show considerable advancement. When the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) was launched in September of 2011, only 12 metropolitan areas out of 360 were on the list. As of December 2012, the list stands at more than 200 metro areas. The index is based on a six-month upswing in housing permits, employment and house prices.

“One reason we have seen such a significant jump in the IMI is because house prices are beginning to recover,” said Crowe. “House prices bottomed out early in 2011 and since early 2012 we’ve seen a 6 percent increase on a national basis.”

Another factor spurring the recovery is that household formations are on the rise. In the early part of the decade, the nation was generating 1.4 million new households each year. This collapsed to 500,000 annually during the housing downturn and currently new households are being formed at close to a 900,000 clip per annum.

“We’re not up to normal, but this is adding to demand for housing,” Crowe said.

As new households form at a growing rate, so too does builder confidence. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which measures builder confidence in the single-family housing market, has posted gains for eight consecutive months and now stands at a level of 47. This is very close to the critical midpoint of 50, where equal numbers of builders view the market as good or bad. The HMI has not been above 50 since April of 2006.

Single-family home starts are projected to climb to 534,000 units this year, up 23 percent from 2011. NAHB is forecasting that single-family new-home production will post a healthy 21 percent gain in 2013 to 647,000 units. Starts will continue their upward climb in 2014, posting a further 29 percent rise to 837,000 units.

Multifamily production is expected to rise 31 percent in 2012, reaching the 233,000 level, and posting a solid 16 percent gain in 2013 to 270,000 units. Multifamily starts are anticipated to rise an additional 9 percent in 2014 to 294,000 units.

Meanwhile, new single-family home sales are expected to rise from 307,000 last year to 367,000 this year, a 20 percent rise. Sales are anticipated to climb to 447,000 next year, up 22 percent from 2012 and jump to 607,000 in 2014, a 36 percent increase over 2013 levels.

FHFA: Adjustable Rate Mortgage Index drops to 3.36

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) 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 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) contracts, was 3.36 percent based on loans closed in November. There was a decrease of 0.08 from the previous month. With data for February 2012, FHFA began calculating interest rates using un-weighted survey data. The complete contract rate series can be found at http://www.fhfa.gov/Default.aspx?Page=251.

The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loans of $417,000 or less decreased 4 basis points to 3.54 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 26 - 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 3.36 percent in November, down 8 basis points from 3.44 percent in October. The effective interest rate, which reflects the amortization of initial fees and charges, was 3.49 percent in November, down 8 basis points from 3.57 percent in October. This report contains no data on adjustable-rate mortgages due to insufficient sample size.

Initial fees and charges were 1.08 percent of the loan balance in November, up 3 basis points from October. Sixteen percent of the purchase-money mortgage loans originated in November were “no-point” mortgages, down from 21 percent from the share in October.  The average term was 27.4 years in November, down 0.1 years from October. The average loan-to-price ratio in November was 75.7 percent, down 0.1 percent from 75.8 percent in October. The average loan amount was $272,300 in November up $14,900 from $257,400 in October.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

FHFA House Price Index Up 0.5 Percent in October

U.S. house prices rose 0.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from September to October, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s monthly House Price Index (HPI). The previously reported 0.2 percent increase in September was revised downward to a 0.0 percent change. For the 12 months ending in October, U.S. prices rose 5.6 percent. The U.S. index is 15.7 percent below its April 2007 peak and is roughly the same as the July 2004 index level.

For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes from September to October ranged from -1.3 percent in the Middle Atlantic division to +2.0 percent in the Pacific division while the 12-month changes ranged from -0.1 percent in the New England division to +13.1 percent in the Mountain division.

FHFA uses the purchase prices of houses with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to calculate the monthly index. Monthly index values and appreciation rate estimates for recent periods are provided in the table and graphs on the following pages. Click here for complete historical data.

Builder Confidence Continues Improving in December

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose for an eighth consecutive month in December to a level of 47 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today. This marked a two-point gain from a slightly revised November reading, and the highest level the index has attained since April of 2006.

“Builders across the country are reporting some of the best sales conditions they’ve seen in more than five years, with more serious buyers coming forward and a shrinking number of vacant and foreclosed properties on the market,” observed NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “However, one thing that is still holding back potential home sales is the difficulty that many families are encountering in getting qualified for a mortgage due to today’s overly stringent lending standards.”

“While there is still much room for improvement, the consistent upward trend in builder confidence over the past year is indicative of the gradual recovery that has been taking place in housing markets nationwide and that we expect to continue in 2013,” noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for the past 25 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores from each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

Two of the HMI’s three component indexes are now above the critical midpoint of 50. The component gauging current sales expectations rose two points to 51 in December, while the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months slipped one point, to 51. The component measuring traffic of prospective buyers increased one point, to 36.

Editor’s Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public. HMI tables can be found at www.nahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at http://www.housingeconomics.com.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays!



 The Home Builders Association of Greenville would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  We are looking forward to a spectacular 2013 and are very thankful for our members, sponsors, and the supporters of the Home Building industry. 
The HBA of Greenville will be closed Dec. 24-25th and Dec 31st and Jan 1st.









S.C. recognized for business friendly policies.

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council ranked South Carolina as one of the nations entrepreneur-friendly states. The index takes a look at 46 different policy measures including an assortment of tax, regulatory, and government spending measures. The Palmetto State was ranked No.14 on the council's annual index of states with the friendliest policies and lowest costs for small business. According to the council, South Carolina earned its ranking for our fairly low individual capital gains tax, no inheritance tax, low consumption- based taxes, low fuel taxes; and a low number of health insurance mandates. However, our 7% personal income tax plus high dividend and interest taxes were listed as negatives, along with high workers compensation costs and a high crime rate.

South Dakota ranked as the councils No. 1 entrepreneur-friendly state followed by Nevada at No. 2; Texas, No. 3; Wyoming, No.4; and Florida, No.5.

In contrast, the states with the least favorable policies include Maine at No. 46; New York at 47, Vermont at 48, New Jersey at 49, and California at No. 50.

"Small businesses are benefiting from policy competition between the states and it is encouraging to see leadership on key issues such as fiscal reform, sensible spending, and tax and regulatory relief." Karen Kerrigan council president  and CEO.

For more information on the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council click here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Matt Cobb, Stephen Wisdom Acquire Southern Traditions Window Fashions

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GREENVILLE, SC – Matt Cobb and Stephen Wisdom have purchased Southern Traditions Window Fashions from company founders David and Cheri Burriss. Established in 1993, Southern Traditions Window Fashions offers sales and installation of interior and exterior window solutions for residential and commercial applications. An HBA of Greenville member, the company is an exhibitor in the Southern Home & Garden Show.

Cobb oversees all sales and marketing functions of the newly acquired company and Wisdom oversees all operations including installations, customer service and office management. The company is located at 319 Garlington Road, Suite B-12, in Greenville.

Cobb most recently owned and operated an Allstate insurance office in Greenville. A graduate of Clemson University with a B.S. in Marketing, Cobb owned Magnolia Lane Shutters for three years and was a salesman for Southern Traditions from 2005 until 2009.

Wisdom is a 15-year employee of Southern Traditions, handling installations and customer service functions. He previously was an operations manager for Circuit City in Anderson.

Southern Traditions Window Fashions offers a wide selection of blinds, shades, plantation shutters, exterior shutters, custom drapery and valances for residential and commercial clients. The company is an authorized dealer for Hunter Douglas, Graber, Kirsch, Levolor, Comfortex, Lutron and Insolroll. Southern Traditions also is part of Exciting Windows!, a national network of window fashions companies.

For more information, call (864) 286-0044 or visit www.Shutters4U.com.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Flood Management Program is updated for Greenville County

Greenville County, in cooperation with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is updating its flood management program. The updates include:
  • Revising the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), which include, in some cases, additional limits on construction in certain areas
  • Updating public educational programs which include information on building in flood-prone areas
  • Creating a resource page where property owners may determine if their property is in a floodplain
Greenville County has created a resource page on its Flood Management Program that includes important information about building in flood-prone areas. Click here to visit the Flood Management Program page at greenvillecounty.org.

For example, did you know that a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), or floodplain, is defined as having a one percent annual chance of flooding. The standard was chosen as a compromise between the need for building restrictions to minimize potential loss of life and property and the economic benefits to be derived from floodplain development. Development may take place within the SFHA, provided that development complies with local floodplain management ordinances, which must meet the minimum Federal requirements. Flood insurance is required for insurable structures within the SFHA to protect federally funded or federally backed investments and assistance used for acquisition and/or construction purposes within communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

OSHA Delays Fall Protection Guideline Changes

Under pressure from Home Builders and your HBA, the Federal Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has given Home Builders and remodelers a reprieve from new, more stringent fall protection regulations that were expected to take effect next week.

The previously announced phase-in period for home builders to comply with the new Compliance Guidance for Residential Construction has been extended until March 15, 2013 to allow the industry more time to learn about the rule and get compliance assistance from the federal agency.

"We are very pleased that OSHA heeded our calls," said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a longtime advocate of sensible, practical regulations that protect workers from falls – the most-cited violation by OSHA in residential construction.

NAHB has long held that the new regulations -- including requirements that all residential construction companies must ensure that any employees or subcontractors doing work that’s six feet above ground or floor level must be protected with guardrail, safety net or personal fall arrest systems -- could actually cause greater danger on the job site than using alternate methods that home builders say are safer.

NAHB again made that argument and asked for the delay as recently as Dec. 10, sending a letter and petition to OSHA officials asking them to reopen the rulemaking and try again to create a rule that applies to home builders, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach that is better suited to commercial contracting.

"NAHB’s builder and contractor members make safety a priority and regularly take steps to reduce or eliminate falls during residential construction activities and comply with OSHA’s fall protection standard. However, after years of interpretations, compliance directives, and guidance documents that have failed to ensure compliance and improve safety, NAHB is convinced that the most beneficial way to address falls in the residential construction industry is for OSHA to promulgate a standard specifically tailored for residential construction," the letter said.

What to Expect in March
In its announcement Dec. 11, OSHA indicated that more time was needed to make sure the construction industry knows how to comply with the rule.

"The agency will continue to work with employers to ensure a clear understanding of, and to facilitate compliance with, the new policy," the press release said.

"OSHA will also continue to develop materials to assist the industry, including a wide variety of educational and training materials to assist employers with compliance, which are available on the Web pages for residential construction and the Fall Prevention Campaign.

The continuation of the temporary enforcement measures through March 15 "include priority free on-site compliance assistance, penalty reductions, extended abatement dates, measures to ensure consistency and increased outreach," the OSHA release said.

NAHB has provided its members an array of resources — including a sample fall protection plan, a residential fall protection fact sheet and an OSHA fall protection webinar replay — to help builders with this transition. They can be found at www.nahb.org/fallprotection.

More Inspections, More Fines
Not only do builders have to understand these changes to the fall protection guidelines, they need to know about all other workplace hazards that can lead to fines from OSHA, and be aware of plans for more inspections that are on the horizon.

In 2011 fines doubled from 2010, averaging $2,132 per violation. That means that a builder that gets 10 violations in one visit could see a bill for more than $21,000 in fines from the agency.

NAHB held a webinar to help builder members prepare for a possible OSHA inspection, which gave these tips:
  • Review your written safety program
  • Conduct an assessment to identify and correct safety hazards on the job site
  • Understand any OSHA national and local emphasis inspection programs
  • Develop procedures – and your company philosophy – for when OSHA comes knocking, and train your employees in those procedures
  • Update records and make sure they are readily available (300 logs, training records, etc.)
  • Conduct appropriate safety training for employees
In addition to fines, an injury or fatality on the job site carries significant costs. The National Safety Council estimates that the per-case average cost of wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, and administrative expenses to an employer would be $53,000 for a disabling injury and $1.35 million for a fatality.

“With OSHA’s stepped up enforcement and increases in the overall dollar amount of penalties, builders need to be prepared,” said Rob Matuga, NAHB’s assistant vice president of labor, safety and health. “Employers taking some simple steps to pre-plan for safety, such as identifying and correcting safety hazards on the job site, will go a long way toward reducing the likelihood of an accident occurring, and therefore eliminate the potential sources of loss.”

Federal vs. State Programs
Not all states follow the federal OSHA programs. Many builders/members are operating in approved state plans. South Carolina operates its own occupational safety and health program under a plan approved by the U.S. Department of Labor.More safety resources can be found on NAHB’s website at www.nahb.org/

Survey of Building Officials Find a Majority Oppose Mandatory Fire Sprinklers in New Single-Family Homes

In a recent survey conducted by the Building Officials Association of South Carolina, 53 percent of those answering the survey oppose mandating the installation of automatic fire sprinklers in new single-family homes. However, 67 percent support mandatory fire sprinklers in town houses. The survey also found that 70 percent of those surveyed support requiring home builders to give the home buyer the option to install fire sprinklers in their new home.

Maximum Conforming Loan Limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to Remain Unchanged in 2013

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today announced that the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2013 will remain at existing levels. In most of the country, the loan limit will be $417,000 for one-unit properties. The loan limits are established under the terms of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), and are calculated each year.

In all counties in the Upstate the loan limit for single-family residences is $417,000, and $533,580 for duplexes.

The law sets loan limits as a function of median home values in local areas. While some counties saw increases in home prices in 2012, no loan limit increases were evident after other HERA terms such as the statutory ceiling and floor were taken into account.

A list of the 2013 maximum conforming loan limits for all counties and county-equivalent areas in the country can be found here. The maximum conforming loan limits for one-unit properties, which generally have applied to loans originated since October 1, 2011, are $417,000 in most locations, but are as high as $625,500 in certain high-cost areas in the contiguous United States.

For loans originated prior to October 2011, the maximum loan limit was as high as $729,750 in the contiguous U.S. That higher “ceiling” limit was permitted under legislation that is not
applicable to loans originated in 2013.

NAHB's plan for reforming the housing finance system

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in March 2012 announced a new comprehensive framework for housing finance system reform that would transition Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to a new mortgage securitization system for single-family and multifamily conventional mortgages.

“Our plan seeks to overhaul the housing finance system to ensure that housing credit is available and affordable in the future and is delivered through a competitive, efficient, sound, safe and stable system,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla.

To achieve this goal, Rutenberg said the system must include private, federal and state sources of housing capital; offer a reasonable menu of sound mortgage products for both single-family and multifamily housing that is governed by prudent underwriting standards and adequate oversight and regulation; and provide a federal backstop to ensure that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages are available at reasonable interest rates and terms.

Replacing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a new securitization system for conventional mortgages backed by private capital and a privately funded federal mortgage-backed securities fund must be done in an orderly fashion over time. During this phase-in period, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would remain operational until the alternative system is fully functioning.

Under this scenario, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be gradually replaced by private housing finance entities (HFEs) that would be chartered to purchase single-family and multifamily mortgages from loan originators and package the loans into securities for sale to investors worldwide. The federal government would guarantee the securities, not the mortgages.

The HFEs would only purchase mortgages that are well understood and have reasonable risk characteristics, such as standard 30-year fixed-rate loans. The HFEs would operate under the oversight of a strong independent regulatory agency to ensure all aspects of safety and soundness. NAHB believes the 12 regional Federal Home Loan Banks could serve as HFEs.

Federal support to the conventional mortgage of the future would consist of a privately funded insurance fund where the government would guarantee its solvency in a manner similar to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s backing of the fund that insures savings deposits. Under this system, mortgage originators would pay premiums to capitalize the insurance fund, which would cover losses and ensure full payment to investors. The federal government would be required to pay investors only if the insurance fund was depleted.

“The intent is for the government to be in a secondary position and to be the insurer of last resort in order to reduce the risk to taxpayers,” said Rutenberg.

NAHB’s housing finance reform blueprint also proposes to:
  • Restart a carefully regulated fully private mortgage-backed securities system. NAHB believes reforms are needed in the system for rating mortgage-backed securities and is supporting the development of new securities ratings agencies that would use criteria developed by securities investors to assure objective evaluations and avoid conflicts of interest.
  • Continue the role of the federal government housing agencies. The housing finance support roles of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Housing Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Agriculture and the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) would be preserved.
  • Enhance the position of state and local housing finance agencies (HFAs) as a source of housing funds. The HFAs should have a more prominent housing finance role through the development of original programs for new homes and multifamily rental units involving partnering with federal and private providers of housing capital.
  • Expand the role of the Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBanks) in the housing finance system. The FHLBanks should continue their current activities to serve as an ongoing liquidity source for institutions providing housing credit. Existing programs, such as the FHLBanks’ mortgage purchase programs, should be enhanced by allowing the banks to move beyond portfolio purchases to securitization.
  • Repair flaws that produced the housing boom and bust. It is extremely important to continue and complete steps to close the gaps in standards and oversight that allowed and facilitated the improper and illegal activities in financial and mortgage markets. This should be done by undertaking a series of comprehensive reforms to ensure sound mortgage products and prudent underwriting; requiring sound mortgage securities structures and full transparency for investors; and imposing adequate oversight on previously unregulated segments of the mortgage and financial markets.
View the full white paper at www.nahb.org/GSEwhitepaper.

A Tax Profile of a Typical Mortgage Interest Deduction Beneficiary

A report by Robert Deitz, Ph.D., and Natalia Siniavskaia, Ph.D., of NAHB's Economics and Housing Policy Department, found that the overwhelming majority of taxpayers using the Mortgage Interest Deduction are middle class taxpayers.  The report demonstrates the importance of preserving the Mortgage Interest Deduction.

Click here to read the complete report by Dr. Deitz and Dr. Siniavskaia at NAHB.org.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What your HBA is doing about flawed appraisals

ImageYour HBA has made it a top priority to fix a flawed appraisal process that is harming countless home builders across the land, jeopardizing their businesses, negatively affecting their bottom lines and hampering the emerging housing recovery across much of the nation.

What does this mean for a typical builder?

Just ask Marty Mitchell, a home builder from Rockville, Md.

“I’ve lost home sales because poor appraisals have come in below a contract sales price,” he said. “Other times I have seen my profits wiped out when my brand new homes with top-of the-line appliances and interior upgrades have been compared to distressed properties. Even worse, I’ve seen instances where some residential developments have been appraised below the prices needed to cover their construction costs and banks arbitrarily reject reasonable appraisals, causing sales to fall through.

“Such practices hurt home buyers, destabilize home values and not only undermine the health of my business, but countless home builders across the land,” he added. “That is why I am thankful that NAHB is working so tirelessly on behalf of the housing industry to enact major reforms in appraisal practices so that appraisals reflect accurate home values and don’t needlessly kill home sales.”

To show the extent of this problem, NAHB conducted a nationwide survey of builders last fall and found that 60% were experiencing appraisals coming in below their contract sales price. Further, one-third of the respondents indicated they had lost a sale because of a low appraisal.

In leading the charge to improve the residential appraisal process to stabilize housing markets, boost economic growth and ensure that faulty appraisals don’t contribute to price volatility, NAHB is making significant progress on many fronts.

Appraisal Summit Makes Progress on Fixing Broken Appraisal Process

On Oct. 24, representatives of federal banking regulators, the appraisal industry, the housing finance industry, and the real estate and residential construction sectors attended the fifth Appraisal Summit held by NAHB at the National Housing Center, NAHB’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., to seek solutions to inaccurate appraisals that remain a major impediment to the housing recovery. The event was hosted by NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg and Chairman-elect Rick Judson.

By bringing together and working with the major stakeholders involved in this issue, NAHB has scored considerable progress in seeking remedies for what seriously ails the appraisal system.

Discussions centered on the need to:
  • Ensure appraisers of new homes have sufficient education and experience
  • Develop an easy-to-use appraisal report for all parties involved in real estate transactions
  • Define a complaint process to challenge and correct factual errors in an appraisal report
  • Build a real estate data superhighway with a national real property registry and supporting networks
  • Establish uniform credentialing standards that would be applied across all jurisdictions
  • Consider all three approaches to value – cost, income and sales comparison – in assessing the value of a residential property
Presenting Solutions to Congress

NAHB is also taking its case to Congress, calling on lawmakers and regulators to strengthen appraiser qualifications, develop new appraisal standards and oversight and create an expedited appeals process.

In written testimony submitted to the House Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee during a hearing this summer on appraisal oversight, NAHB stated that “appraisal standards are not clear, best practices have not been well communicated, and enforcement is not occurring in a consistent manner. NAHB is not advocating that appraisals should be higher than the real market. Rather, our goal is to establish an appraisal system that produces accurate values through all phases of the housing cycle.”

NAHB identified the following key areas to improve current appraisal requirements and practices:
  • Strengthen education, training and experience requirements for appraisers of new home construction.
  • Improve the quantity and quality of data for new construction.
  • Develop new appraisal standards and best practices for conducting appraisals in distressed markets.
  • Develop processes for expedited appeals of inaccurate or faulty appraisals.
  • Strengthen oversight of appraisal activities.
NAHB provided lawmakers additional details on these bullet points and continues to work with all relevant stakeholders to reform appraisal practices that support accurate and sustainable values.

Since the beginning of the year, NAHB has met with representatives from the Association of Appraisal Regulatory Officials to discuss enforcement and the need for a timely appraisal appeals process. Appraisal issues have also been discussed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. NAHB has also sent comment letters to the Appraisal Foundation on residential appraising in declining markets, uniform standards of professional appraisal practice and adjusting comparable sales for seller concessions.

In response to increasing calls and conversations with members about appraisal problems, NAHB established an Appraisal Working Group to come up with new methods of helping builders deal with the appraisal issue. Acting aggressively to identify solutions to improve the accuracy of appraisals, the group is working to identify solutions to improve the accuracy of appraisals with a focus for changes in the areas of regulation and oversight, appraisal practices and standards, appraiser education and experience requirements, and data and technology.

The bottom line: Builders should not be losing sales as a result of a broken new-home appraisal system. NAHB continues to make progress with regulators and members of the appraisal industry to correct major flaws in the appraisal process, ensure that appraisals accurately reflect true market values and prevent builders from losing sales due to faulty appraisals.

To learn more, go to www.nahb.org/appraisals.

Resources for Home Builders

NAHB has developed excellent resources to help its members successfully navigate through the appraisal process. These include:
  • A two-page summary for members on how to build stronger and more productive relationships with appraisers. Builder communication with lenders and appraisers should include: market and absorption information, sales information, all relevant data, specifications of the property, details on the materials that were chosen and buyers’ reactions to the products selected.
  • A replay of the May 16 “Builders Guide to Appraisals” webinar, which is available at www.nahb.org/appraisalwebinar. The webinar features a panel of home builder and appraisal practitioners who discuss appraisal rules and provide advice to help builders improve the accuracy of their home valuations.
  • An Appraisal Primer that provides a detailed overview to help NAHB members better understand the appraiser’s role in the financing of new homes, as well as Frequently Asked Questions as well as answers about the appraisal process.

Tell Congress Not to Slow Housing Recovery

Over the next several weeks, Congress will be working on a compromise to avoid falling off the fiscal cliff. A compromise could weaken the mortgage interest deduction and other important housing tax incentives, and raise taxes on small businesses. Any change to the mortgage interest deduction will lower home values and stall the fragile housing recovery. Increased taxes on small businesses, the engine of economic growth, will slow job creation.

Congress needs to “do no harm” to the tax code over the next few weeks. Any tax changes should be deliberated in the newly-elected Congress in an open process with a full understanding of the consequences of these tax changes.

Call to Action:
Urge your members of Congress to:
  • Maintain housing tax incentives within the tax code
  • Maintain the current tax rates on small businesses
  • Deliberate tax changes in 2013 with the newly-elected Congress in an open process
 If you have any questions please email BuilderLink@nahb.org.

Rates from the National Flood Insurance Program May Rise

One property in Mississippi, valued at $183,000, was flooded 15 times over a 10 year period and cost the National Flood Insurance Program $1.47 million. Another property in Texas, valued at $116,000, has amassed $2 million in claims, and counting.

These and other examples are why the National Flood Insurance Program is on the verge of insolvency, and why Congress authorized the program to increase premiums by as much at 25 percent a year over the next five years for second homes and homes in flood-prone areas. The objective is to increase premiums so that they reflect actual risk and perhaps discourage building in hazardous areas.

Click here to read about the premium changes in the New York Times.

Housing Starts Up 3.6 Percent in October

Nationwide housing production rose 3.6 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 894,000 units, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. This is the highest pace of new-home construction since July of 2008.

“This report is in line with our latest builder surveys, which show improving confidence and optimism in the marketplace as buyers take advantage of low mortgage rates and very attractive prices,” said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “Builders are acting to meet rising demand while continuing to exercise caution by pulling a modest increase in the number of single family permits as the market continues to gradually gain its footing.”

“Today’s report bears out similar changes in other economic indicators that housing continues to recover at a slow but steady place, and is right in line with our expectations of modest month-to-month growth,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “However, we still have a long way to go to get back to normal production as inaccurate appraisals, tight lending conditions for home buyers and policy uncertainties continue to impede the recovery.”

Single-family housing starts in October were virtually unchanged at 594,000 units while multifamily production posted an 11.9 percent gain to 300,000 units – the best pace since July of 2008.

On a regional basis, overall housing starts rose 17.2 percent in the West and 8.9 percent in the Midwest while posting a storm-related decline of 6.5 percent in the Northeast and 2.5 percent in the South.

Permit issuance, which can be a harbinger of future building activity, fell 2.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 866,000 units in October. The drop in permits was focused in the apartment sector as multifamily permits fell 10.6 percent from an unusually high September level to 304,000 units. Meanwhile single-family permits rose 2.2 percent to 562,000 units.

Builder Confidence Rises Five Points in November

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes posted a solid, five-point gain to 46 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) for November, released today. This marks the seventh consecutive monthly gain in the confidence gauge and brings it to its highest point since May of 2006.

“Builders are reporting increasing demand for new homes as inventories of foreclosed and distressed properties begin to shrink in markets across the country,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “In view of the tightening supply and other improving conditions, many potential buyers who were on the fence are now motivated to move forward with a purchase in order to take advantage of today’s favorable prices and interest rates.”

“While our confidence gauge has yet to breach the 50 mark -- at which point an equal number of builders view sales conditions as good versus poor -- we have certainly made substantial progress since this time last year, when the HMI stood at 19,” observed NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “At this point, difficult appraisals and tight lending conditions for builders and buyers remain limiting factors for the burgeoning housing recovery, along with shortages of buildable lots that have begun popping up in certain markets.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for the past 25 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores from each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

Two out of three of the HMI’s component indexes registered gains in November. The component gauging current sales conditions posted the biggest increase, with an eight-point gain to 49 – its highest mark in more than six years. Meanwhile, the component measuring sales expectations for the next six months held above 50 for a third consecutive month with a two-point gain to 53, and the component measuring traffic of prospective buyers held unchanged at 35 following a five-point gain in the previous month.
All four regions of the country posted gains in their HMI three-month moving averages as of November. The South posted a four-point gain to 43, while the Midwest and West each posted three-point gains, to 45 and 47, respectively, and the Northeast posted a two-point gain to 31. (Note, the HMI survey was conducted in the two weeks immediately following Hurricane Sandy and therefore does reflect builder sentiment during that period.)

Editor’s Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public. HMI tables can be found at www.nahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at: http://www.housingeconomics.com/.

U.S. House Prices Rose 1.1 Percent in Third Quarter 2012

U.S. house prices rose 1.1 percent from the second quarter to the third quarter of 2012 according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) seasonally adjusted purchase-only house price index (HPI). The HPI is calculated using home sales price information from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages. Seasonally adjusted house prices rose 4.0 percent from the third quarter of 2011 to the third quarter of 2012. FHFA’s seasonally adjusted monthly index for September was up 0.2 percent from August.

“With significant growth in home prices during the quarter and a modest inventory of homes
available for sale, house price movements in the third quarter were similar to what we observed
in the spring,” said FHFA Principal Economist Andrew Leventis. “The past year has seen
consistent price increases, but a number of factors continue to affect the recovery in home
prices such as stagnant income growth, high unemployment levels, lingering uncertainty about
the macroeconomy, and the large number of homes in the foreclosure pipeline.”

FHFA’s expanded-data house price index, a metric introduced in August 2011 that adds transactions information from county recorder offices and the Federal Housing Administration to the HPI data sample, rose 1.0 percent over the latest quarter. Over the latest four quarters, the index is up 3.3 percent. While the national, purchase-only house price index rose 4.0 percent from the third quarter of 2011 to the third quarter of 2012, prices of other goods and services rose 1.5 percent over the same period. Accordingly, the inflation-adjusted price of homes rose approximately 2.5 percent over the latest year.

Significant Findings:
  • The seasonally adjusted purchase-only HPI rose in the third quarter in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Of the nine census divisions, the Mountain division experienced the strongest increase in the latest quarter, posting a 3.0 percent price increase. House prices were weakest in the East South Central division, where prices fell 0.2 percent over the quarter.
  • As measured with purchase-only indexes for the 25 most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S., third quarter price increases were greatest in the Phoenix-MesaGlendale, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). That area saw prices increase by7.2 percent between the second and third quarters. Prices were weakest in the Edison-New Brunswick, NJ metropolitan division, where prices fell 2.2 percent over that period.
  • The monthly seasonally adjusted purchase-only index for the United States has increased for 8 consecutive months.
  • FHFA’s new “distress-free sales” house price index suggests that price gains in the latest quarter may be partially attributable to decreases in the share of distressed sales in the latest quarter. For 11 of the 12 metropolitan areas covered by the new set of indexes, the distress-free measures—which remove the effect of distressed sales—showed more modest price gains than were evident in the traditional purchase-only indexes.
Click here to read the complete House Price Index Report at FHFA.gov.

FHFA Reports Lower Mortgage Interest Rates

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) 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 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) contracts, was 3.44 percent based on loans closed in October. There was a decrease of 0.12 from the previous month. In March of 2012, FHFA began calculating interest rates using un-weighted survey data. The complete contract rate series can be found at http://www.fhfa.gov/Default.aspx?Page=251.

The average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loans of $417,000 or less decreased 14 basis points to 3.62 in September. 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 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 3.44 percent in October, down 11 basis points from 3.55 percent in September. The effective interest rate, which reflects the amortization of initial fees and charges, was 3.57 percent in October, down 10 basis points from 3.67 percent in September. This report contains no data on adjustable-rate mortgages due to insufficient sample size.

Initial fees and charges were 1.05 percent of the loan balance in October, up 10 basis points from September. Twenty-one percent of the purchase-money mortgage loans originated in September were "no-point" mortgages, down one percent from the share in September. The average term was 27.5 years in October, up 0.1 years from September. The average loan-to-price ratio in October was 75.8 percent, up 0.2 percent from 75.6 percent in September. The average loan amount was $257,400 in October, up $2800 from $254,600 in September.

NAHB Takes Fight for Property Owners to U.S. Supreme Court

Home builders are in the crosshairs as cash-strapped local governments that have seen their budgets decimated during the economic downturn look for ways to shift infrastructure costs to the private sector.

For years, local governments have pursued arrangements with developers to extract certain concessions in exchange for the opportunity to develop. For example, a locality may ask a developer to improve the street in anticipation of the increased traffic that a development may bring.

In many cases, it's a fair request. However, some local governments seem all too willing to stretch the boundaries to the limit – and now the courts are backing them.

A recent ruling by the Florida Supreme Court would effectively allow local governments to force builders to provide community services or pay for improvements on public lands miles away from their property before they can receive a permit to develop their own private property. Following an appeal, the case now moves to the highest court in the land.

Taking the Lead

Leading the fight on behalf of property owners and acting to ensure that the interests of NAHB members are appropriately represented, NAHB on Nov. 28 filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, a landmark case with major implications for land developers nationwide.

NAHB has been joined by more than a dozen other prominent real estate and business organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Mining Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Real Estate Roundtable.

The filing in support of Koontz and the rights of all property owners details how the defendant has overstepped its bounds.

“No matter how well intentioned the government may be, the Constitution was not designed to make government’s life easier at the expense of private citizens,” the brief said. “Plainly, there must be some limit on the ability of government agencies to impose conditions on the issuance of permits. Otherwise, no citizen’s rights as to anything would be secure.”

Background

Coy A. Koontz owned 14.2 acres of vacant land in Central Florida and wanted to improve 3.7 acres of the property. In exchange for the opportunity to develop, Koontz offered to dedicate the remainder of his property – more than 75% of his land – to the state for conservation.

The government rejected the proposal and pressed Koontz for more, demanding that Koontz also enhance 50 acres of government-owned wetlands – more than four miles away from Koontz's property – by replacing culverts and filling in some ditches. The government never demonstrated how the off-site improvements to government-owned land relate to the alleged impact of Koontz’s dredge-and-fill activities on his own property.

But when Koontz refused the district’s demand, his permit applications were denied outright. The district told Koontz it would not issue permits for his property until he agreed to the district’s off-site work conditions.

Koontz sued on the ground that the government was taking his land without just compensation.

Unfortunately, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the district's demand was not a "taking" in this case. The court also ruled that it was legal for the government to refuse to issue the permit until Koontz agreed to make the improvements.

What’s at Stake

If the U.S. Supreme Court allows the Florida Supreme Court’s decision to stand, it could be opening the door to allow any municipality in America to force any home owner who requests a permit to remodel their home to perform expensive, unnecessary and unrelated improvements before receiving permission to upgrade their own house.

In today’s tough economy, localities struggling to make ends meet and balance their budgets can be expected to continue to try to shift infrastructure and service costs to the private sector. If the Florida Supreme Court’s decision is upheld, that shift will be expedited by putting the burden back on developers (both legally and financially) and by forcing developers to accept invalid exactions before having their day in court.

NAHB will keep its members apprised as this case proceeds. The Supreme Court is expected to deliver its decision by June 30.

NAHB Legal Resources


NAHB’s proactive litigation efforts have forced governmental bodies and agencies at the state and federal levels to scale back or entirely eliminate efforts to limit or stop development on countless parcels nationwide.

NAHB provides a myriad of legal resources for both members and state and local association staff. While the NAHB staff counsel cannot replace your local attorney, NAHB can offer legal research, litigation funding, and/or litigation strategy, depending on the situation and the issues involved. See the Legal Services for details.

The NAHB Legal Research Program also provides free legal research assistance and information on building industry-related issues to all members. More information can be found here.

Remodeling a Key Element in the Nation’s Economy

Like new construction, remodeling of both owner-occupied homes and rental properties contributes billions of dollars to the nation’s economy each year as property owners update and improve residential properties.

Every $10 million in remodeling expenditures yields the following economic benefits:
  • 111 jobs
  • $8.3 million in wage and business income
  • $3 million in taxes and revenue for state, local and federal governments
Residential remodeling is one of the industry’s bright spots. The average amount spent on remodeling projects per household nationwide is $1,907.

Nationally, NAHB is forecasting a continued increase in the demand for residential repairs and improvements this year.

Legislation Would Improve Lead Paint Rule

One of the biggest threats to the residential remodeling industry is the EPA's Lead Paint Rule.  Your HBA is working aggressively to address this threat.

NAHB has worked with members of Congress to introduce legislation that is pending in both chambers of Congress that would make much-needed improvements to the EPA’s Lead: Repair, Renovation and Painting rule.

The Lead Exposure Reduction Amendment Act of 2012 (House bill H.R. 5911and Senate bill S. 2148) would help home owners and remodelers to better comply with the costly work practices and record keeping requirements of the rule without compromising safety standards.

Your HBA is urging its members to contact their lawmakers and urge them to co-sponsor these two lead paint bills pending in the House and Senate.

McGraw-Hill: Green Residential Market Share is Rising

According to McGraw-Hill Construction, since 2005 the green share of new single-family residential construction has grown dramatically--increasing from 2 percent in 2005 to 17 percent in 2011, or $17 billion in market opportunity.

McGraw-Hill Construction projects that the green market share will continue to rise to 29 percent to 38 percent in 2016, or $87 billion to $114 billion in market opportunity.

According to the same study, remodelers are reporting higher adoption of green building compared to home builders.  In the next five years half of home builders expect 60 percent or more of their projects to be green, and one third expect 90 percent of their projects to be green.

By contrast, the number of remodelers reporting 60 percent or more of their projects will be green by 2016 has doubled, and the number reporting more than 90 percent of their projects will be green has tripled.

Apartment and Condominium Market Remains Steady in Third Quarter

The Multifamily Production Index (MPI), released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) today, remained steady with an index level of 52. It is the third straight quarter with a reading over 50.

The MPI, which measures builder and developer sentiment about current conditions in the apartment and condominium market on a scale of 0 to 100, was essentially unchanged in the third quarter, only dropping two points from 54 in the second quarter.

The MPI 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 2012, the MPI component tracking builder and developer perceptions of market-rate rental properties recorded a level of 69 and has been over 60 for five consecutive quarters—the longest sustained period of strength since the inception of the index in 2003. For-sale units had its highest reading since the fourth quarter of 2005, coming in at 44, while low-rent units dropped 15 points to 46.

“The market-rate apartment and condo markets continue to improve as household formations generate demand,” said W. Dean Henry, CEO of Legacy Partners Residential in Foster City, Calif., and chairman of NAHB’s Multifamily Leadership Board. “As young households find sustainable employment, most are renting in new apartment communities.”

The Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI), which measures the multifamily housing industry's perception of vacancies, dropped three points 33. With the MVI, lower numbers indicate fewer vacancies. After peaking at 70 in the second quarter of 2009, the MVI declined consistently through 2010 and has been at a fairly low level throughout 2011 and 2012.

“The multifamily market has recovered substantially since the end of 2010, and now stands at about 70 percent of the way back to a sustainable level. Our baseline forecast calls for further steady growth in the rate of multifamily production,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “However, there are reasons for concern, especially at the affordable end of the rental apartment market, where builder confidence dropped dramatically in the third quarter. That was likely due to a specific provision of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit set to expire at the end of the year. The prospect of dealing with this is making lower-rent projects difficult to underwrite. Ongoing deficit-reduction negotiations in Congress need to address this issue, or a serious shortage of affordable rental housing may develop.”

Historically, the MPI and MVI have performed well as leading indicators of U.S. Census figures for multifamily starts and vacancy rates, providing information on likely movement in the Census figures one to three quarters in advance.

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

Greenville makes Improving Markets Index for Seventh Consecutive Month

For the seventh consecutive month, the Greenville Metropolitan Statistical Area (Pickens, Greenville, and Laurens counties) made NAHB's Improving Markets Index.  As a result, according to the index, Greenville's housing market has been improving now for 13 consecutive months.  And overall, the  number of improving markets grew by 76 to 201.

The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. A total of 84 new metros were added to the list; 44 states and the District of Columbia are now represented on the index. Newly added metros include such geographically diverse locations as Atlanta, Ga.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Seattle, Wash.; and Columbia, SC.

In South Carolina, Greenville, Anderson, Spartanburg, Columbia, and Florence are now all listed on the Improving Markets Index. According to the index, the bottom of the market in South Carolina was as early as March 2009 (Columbia) and as late as March 2011 (Anderson).  The bottom of the market in Greenville was September 2010.

“The big gain in improving markets this December indicates that key measures of housing and economic strength have now been holding steady or improving in metros across the country for six months or more, which is an important signal of stability amidst the slowly emerging recovery,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “The main thing that’s limiting the progress we’re seeing right now is the difficulty that potential buyers continue to experience with regard to overly tight mortgage qualifying standards.”

“This fourth consecutive month of expansion in the IMI, coupled with the fact that well over half of all metro areas are now represented on the list, is in keeping with the upward trends that we’ve been seeing all year in terms of housing starts and sales, builder confidence and other measures,” noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “In general, we expect the overall housing recovery to continue expanding in 2013. However, that is absent a major policy change of the kind that some policymakers have been discussing with regard to the mortgage interest deduction.”

“The dramatic expansion of improving markets at the end of this year should help encourage consumers who may have been on the fence about a home purchase that a housing recovery is now firmly underway,” added Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman of First American Title Insurance Company.

The IMI is designed to track housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health. The index measures three sets of independent monthly data to get a mark on the top improving Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The three indicators that are analyzed are employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, housing price appreciation from Freddie Mac and single-family housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau. NAHB uses the latest available data from these sources to generate a list of improving markets. A metropolitan area must see improvement in all three measures for at least six consecutive months following those measures’ respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list.

A complete list of all 201 metropolitan areas currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in December, is available at www.nahb.org./imi.

Frances Marian Watts Giles

Frances Marian Watts Giles, wife of Past President Lex Giles and former Executive Vice President Wesley Giles, died December 2, 2012.  She was 94.

Frances Marian Watts Giles
From the Greenville News:  Frances Marian Watts Giles, 94, Greenville, at 5:18 p.m., Sunset, December 2, 2012, embarked on her Sunset Cruise to join husband "Lex", and many family and friends.

Her "Bon Voyage" was celebrated with her daughters, son, and daughter-in-law by her side. With a "Bright Smile" she departed from Rolling Green, always enriching others with many kind words, fond moments and countless memories. She is survived by a son and daughter-in-law: William Wesley and Teresa Giles of Greenville, SC; two daughters Lucile Alexis "Luci" Giles Williams of Greenville, SC, and Eleanor Eugenia "Genie" Giles Perry of Columbia, SC; two grandchildren: Edward Eugene "Ward" Williams IV of Houston, TX and Alexis Giles Williams of Chattanooga TN. She was predeceased by her husband: Ira Alexis "Lex" Giles Jr. and mother: Ella Outlaw Watts.

She was born in Georgetown, SC, and lived in Murrells Inlet, SC. She moved to Greenville prior to World War II and completed Business College. After graduating she was employed with Scurry-Nixon Co., in the Accounting Department and Cooper Motor Lines in the Finance Dept. While raising her family, she also joined her husband, Lex, in the family Real Estate-Development & Investment Business for 40 years. Frances was a member of Second Presbyterian Church.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Real Estate Commission Issues New Residential Property Condition Disclosure Statement

The S.C. Real Estate Commission has issued a new Residential Property Condition Disclosure Statement. The new form was issued November 28, 2013, and is effective and must be in use on or before January 1, 2013.

The form applies to all single-family homes and buildings up to four dwelling units. However, the use of the form is NOT REQUIRED when the transfer involves the first sale of a home that has never been inhabited.

Major changes to the form include the addition of Question 13 to disclose individual repairs in excess of $500 to the systems disclosed in the form, as well as the addition of questions 27-40 related to disclosure of property restrictions.

You may download the form and the list of exemptions at llronline.com by clicking here.

UPDATE:
The S.C. Real Estate Commission acted December 18 to grandfather any current listings. The new form will apply only to listings added on or after January 1, 2013. The new form also applies to listings that expire and are renewed in 2013. Remember new construction is exempt from the requirement to use the Seller Disclosure Form.

HBA of Greenville welcome's new members!

We would like to welcome new Associate members DPS LLC- James McCarter and The Haro Group of Keller Williams- Haro Setian, also Builder Affiliate members Carter Barksdale and Wayne Smith both of Dan Ryan Builders.
Welcome!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Rep. Bruce Bannister Elected S.C. House Majority Leader

Representative Bruce W. Bannister
Majority Leader Bruce Bannister
Rep. Bruce Bannister, House member from Greenville, was elected today as the House Majority Leader of the S.C. House of Representatives. He has been Assistant Majority Leader since 2008. Bruce represents the district that was previously represented by David Wilkins. He is an attorney here in Greenville.

The Majority Leader is the leader of the Republican Caucus in the S.C. House.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Duke Energy Security Deposit Procedure Released

Beginning in February 2013, Duke Energy will review internal credit history for all builders, property managers, landlords and realtors when they request new electric service.  If a customer has not established a satisfactory credit history – or has no credit history – a security deposit will be required before new service can be established. In addition, builders, property managers, landlords and realtors must settle any unpaid obligations prior to establishing new electric service accounts. Our credit evaluation is based on regulatory guidelines.

Security will not be required when satisfactory credit history has been established.
An account has a satisfactory credit history if electric service has been active for more than 12 consecutive billing months, and during the past 12 months:
  • Service has never been disconnected for nonpayment of the bill.
  • There have been no more than two past due bills.
Security will be required if credit history is unsatisfactory. An account has an unsatisfactory credit history if the customer has unpaid bills, or if, during the past 12 months:
  • There have been more than two past due bills.
  • Service was disconnected for nonpayment of the bill.
Security deposit amounts
  • Residential permanent service for builders, property managers, landlords and realtors : $50
  • Non-residential permanent service for builders, property managers, landlords and realtors:
  • If contract demand is less than or equal to 15 kilowatts (kW): $100
  • If contract demand is between 16 kW and 30 kW: $200
  • If contract demand is greater than or equal to 31 kW: The security amount will be determined based on kilowatt load and assessment of the customer’s credit.
Learn more at duke-energy.com/deposits.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday Reception 12/4/2012 @ 5:30 p.m.-Last event for TOYS FOR TOTS

Builder After Hours on Tuesday December 4th at 5:30pm at The Cook's Station - 26 August St (across the street from Mellow Mushroom)
The event is hosted by The Cook's Station and will have heavy hors d'oeuvre and some great give aways like: 2 seats to a cooking class in 2013- that's an $80 value!

So come out and celebrate the season, as this event is FREE to all HBA members!

 We will also be accepting Toys for Tots donations please bring a new, unwrapped toy to help a child have a Merry Christmas.
Please call the HBA office to confirm your attendance plans @ 864-254-0133

(Parking is available in the West End Parking Lot behind Mellow Mushroom.)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Home Builders Association of Greenville!
We are so thankful for your support and your contribution to the area in which we live.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2013 HBA of SC officers

Congratulations and Welcome to the 2013 HBA of SC officers.
HBA of Greenville member Eric Hedrick was elected to District #4, District Associate Director (DAD) along with:
Darryl Hall- President
Harry Dill- Vice President
Calvin Snow- Treasurer
Andy White- Secretary
David Gully- Immediate Past President

For the full list of newly elected officers please visit the HBA of SC.


Palmetto Builders Show- April 26-27th 2013

The Charleston Home Builders Association is proud to announce the inaugural Palmetto Builder’s Show!

The Palmetto Builder’s Show presented by James Hardie Building Products, April 26th and 27th at the Charleston Area Convention Center, is designed to create a working environment between builders, remodelers, architects, engineers, vendors, suppliers and manufacturers. The Palmetto Builder’s Show is the only trade show in South Carolina to focus solely on supporting industry relationships and building collaboration among professionals.

This event is only for builders, remodelers, architects, engineers and their clients. The event will host over 1,500 of these key industry professionals- invited from South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina and other surrounding areas. This event is geared to interest out-of-town invitees, capitalizing on Charleston’s beautiful scenery and natural appeal, while also giving attendees a taste of the local homebuilding community’s best products and services. In-town invitees will also enjoy the show, without the hassle of having to travel outside the state.

For more information or how you can be an exhibitor please contact the Charleston HBA at www.hbacharleston.com or by calling 843-572-1414.